Spread the message – not the germs.
We’ve all heard our Minister for Health harping on about handwashing as the ‘way forward’ in the war against the superbugs. Handwashing is important to our health but it is only one of the many health care guidelines produced by SARI (an offspring of the HSE) for the control of MRSA in Ireland. For the moment, it would appear that the HSE has made it a ‘national priority’ to use handwashing as the weapon of choice. What they’ve failed to communicate properly however, is that handwashing is only effective if it’s carried out frequently and in the right way.
If people don’t wash their hands frequently (especially when they’re sick), they can spread germs directly to other people or onto surfaces that others touch. The correct procedure is for people to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. They should rub in between the fingers, the top and palm of their hands and under the fingernails, the friction being the reason which zaps off the germs. Then rinsing for an additional 5-10 seconds completes the process before patting one’s hands dry with a disposable paper towel.
How does one comfortably measure the 20-25 seconds it takes to have clean, germ free hands without watching a clock? The secret to getting the timing right can be solved by humming the “Happy Birthday” tune twice over in one’s head.
Simple, eh! But if you catch someone singing Happy Birthday out loud while they wash their hands, kindly remind them the washing still works if the birthday song is silent. In fact, tell them it works better if it’s silent!