Keeping clean

One of the more common parent-to-child questions is, “Did you wash your hands?” Because hand and wrist hygiene has been documented to be the first line of defense against many kinds of illnesses, The Newtown Square Fire Company also reminds adults this question and a valid “yes” also applies to them as well.

In confirming the importance of hand washing, the Newtown Square Fire Company’s former Assistant Chief—EMS Lisa Migliori added, “This easy-to-achieve defense protects against a pandemic, the common cold, the flu, SARS, foodborne illnesses, and other infectious diseases.” She added, “This importance is vital in the home, work, health care facilities, and other public facilities.”

By keeping hands clean is a document help in preventing illnesses.  Begin this theme by always washing hands before preparing or eating food and after going to the bathroom.  A soap and warm water washing of the fingers, under the nails, palms, back of hands and wrists should be aggressive and last for 20 seconds.  This washing process continues with the total rinsing of the soap with more water.

Adding a bit of humor, Mrs. Migliori mused, “Children are instructed to wash during a slow-paced singing the ‘ABC song.’  Adults can sing this song to themselves.”

Mothers with children in diapers are specially reminded to wash after diaper changing or any cleanup of children’s activities.

The same hand cleaning procedures prescribed for hospital care—the washing both before and after any health care—also are safety steps when caring for ill friends and family members.

Other often forgotten activities are “must wash” activities.  They included after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, after handling an animal or animal waste, after handling garbage, before and after treating a cut or wound, and after handling items contaminated by flood water or sewage. Even clean-looking hands can be unhealthy.

The Fire Company’s retired Assistant Chief—EMS added there is an alternative should there be no available soap and water.  The increased availability of alcohol-based sanitizers has become a help in hand hygiene.  To achieve the most effective cleaning, apply product to the palm of one hand. Thoroughly rub hands together, remembering to cover all surfaces of hands and fingers.  This cleaning process must continue until hands are dry.

Whether cooking in the kitchen or when preparing food outdoors, remember to wash your hands before and after preparing or eating.  Another food practice demands washing after handling uncooked foods. In part, particularly raw meat, poultry, or fish.  When the prep-efforts are completed, remember to clean the cooking and prep areas.

Finishing the Newtown Square Fire Company’s health primer, Mrs. Migliori added, “When the work area is clean, remember to wash and dry your hands one last time.”


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