Safe hand washing and sanitizing practices are at the forefront of everyone's mind. They always should have been, but now, even more so. While we are faced with this current Pandemic we are super vigilant to make sure our hands and homes are disinfected. I bet some of us are even building some new handwashing habits that should remain with us long after this Pandemic is gone. I have a feeling carrying wipes and hand sanitizer will just become our new normal.
Let me take you back to my childhood. As a kid, how many times do you remember your mother telling you to go “wash your hands” when you came in from school, after playing in the yard or to go wash-up before dinner? I must have heard those words a million times in my childhood! Well, good ‘ol mom was right! There is no substitute for washing hands with warm water and soap. This doesn’t mean a quick two-second rinse where you simply run hands under the water. I’m talking about a serious scrub.
Experts recommend a 20-second wash, some say to sing Happy Birthday through once or better yet twice as you wash. I look to surgeons as model examples. I like to think of how serious they are as they wash-up before performing a surgery. They see to every detail, right down to each fingernail. They get the blue ribbon handwashing award for sure!
Because circumstances are not always ideal, washing may not always be possible. When it isn’t, a good hand sanitizer comes in second place. Sanitizers are not meant to replace a thorough wash but come in handy as the first line of defense when an actual wash isn't possible.
Here are 10 suggestions where hand sanitizer comes in handy to help degerm your hands when soap and water are not available:
- When a soap dispenser is empty in public restrooms.
- When you’re traveling by car, bus, airplane, train where you’re touching trays, nobs, handles, phones.
- When you’re at the grocery store and there are no more wipes furnished for carts.
- If you are sick: coughing, blowing your nose or touching your face
- When no washing facility is available like at a public park, playground or beach.
- At your desk after using shared office computers, scissors, pencils and pens.
- Before and after you touch the steering wheel in your car.
- Before eating in a public place, at school or home.
- When you go to the gym and have used shared equipment, weights, yoga mats,
- For your kids anytime, especially at school, after school, at practices, playing with friends.
This is just the beginning of a long list I’m sure you can add to. My bottom-line advice is to always wash when you can but when you can’t, be prepared with a carry-with-you sanitizer for emergency needs. Most importantly, don’t be negligent and skip this important line of defense. Doing one or the other is far better than neither. Hand washing and hand sanitizers go hand-in-hand to help protect you. You’re best off when you incorporate both.