How many times today have you asked your kids "did you wash your hands?" or have asked them to go wash their hands? Probably a lot and they also probably get a little annoyed. Here are 5 fun facts that will help your children understand the importance of washing their hands.
1) Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
They might ask why, or say that it's way too long to wash their hands! Tell them they can sing one of their favourite songs. Songs like the alphabet, or Happy Birthday can also do the trick! Viruses like COVID-19 have a worse enemy, and that is soap. When you lather your hands with soap, a combination of molecules assemble into bubble-like structures that trap viral matter and other materials like grease, oil, dirt and rinse them down the drain. Washing your hands for 20 seconds gives you better chances of cleaning all corners and crevices of your hands. Which ultimately results in a much better and more effective clean.
2) If water were hot enough to kill bacteria, it would scold your hands
This is for when your kids think a quick rinse under water is considered washing their hands! You can tell your kids that water is not enough because if harmful antigens like bacteria, viruses or dirt cling to their hands, they are often bound by organic soil. This soil contains fats and proteins which do not dissolve easily in water, therefore water alone is not enough. So basically you can tell them that only a combination of soap and water can defeat the germs, and water alone does not do the trick.
3) A mighty 80% of infectious diseases are transferred by touch
We all know kids love to get their hands dirty and explore. That is very healthy for them to do and should be encouraged, but proper hand washing techniques become crucial since most viruses and diseases can be passed on by a simple handshake or high five. Hand washing is vital for children because they are a vulnerable age group, and germs spread easily when children are playing close to each other.
4) Regular soap is just as effective as using antibacterial soap
Don't write off your typical bar of soap or plain soap; it is just as effective. Marketing companies claim antibacterial soap gives you a deeper clean, but that hasn't been proven. Using regular soap and following the simple handwashing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
5) Damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands
Yup, you heard that right. It is also important for your children to properly dry their hands after washing. Now that your kids have mastered washing their hands, they also need to become hand drying experts. Keeping your hands dry is particularly important in the colder months, since air dries out, and the skin then cannot hold onto its moisture. Dry skin on the hands can lead to skin damage like cracks and cuts, and these increase the risk of infection. An extra fun fact is that single-use paper towels are actually more hygienic than warm air dryers. Up to 99% of the germs can be removed by drying your hands properly. At the end of the day, the drier your hands, the safer you and your children will be!
The simple act of washing hands can prevent millions of illnesses each year. You can't always be there to remind your children to wash their hands. That it is why it's essential to educate your children on the importance of handwashing and the proper techniques!
Stay safe and happy hand washing!