Importance of Handwashing
Handwashing is an essential practice for limiting the spread of disease and is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is important for people of all ages and demographics to correctly wash their hands, it is even more crucial for vulnerable populations like seniors. According to Global News Ca, older Canadians are at higher risk for developing complications with COVID-19, which is why seniors and their caretakers must be even more vigilant about proper hand hygiene.
Correct Handwashing Technique
When done properly, handwashing is the most effective way to reduce the spread of communicable diseases and infections. Seniors and those who live with or take care of seniors must be extra mindful of the proper handwashing methods.
Some important tips the Infection, Prevention, and Control Canada suggest include:
- Use soap and water when hands are visibly soiled. If hands do not have visible dirt, use an alcohol-based hand rub with more than 60% alcohol.
- Remove any hand or arm jewellery prior to washing your hands.
- Whether using soap and water or hand sanitizer, rub for at least 15 seconds for effective cleaning.
- Thoroughly scrub all parts of your hands, including the backs of your hands, under your nails, and between all fingers.
- Do not use a common towel to dry hands, as it may carry germs. Use disposable cleaning cloths.
- Make sure to protect your hands from excessive drying. Skin is only a valuable line of defence when it is intact. Prevent chafing by making sure to wet your hands before using soap and use an alcohol-based rub when possible. Alcohol-based hand rubs actually contain emollients that reduce skin irritation.
When to Wash Hands
In addition to methodology, timing is also crucial for the effectiveness of handwashing. To reduce the spread of contaminants, you must wash your hands at some important times. According to IPAC Canada, you should wash your hands during the following instances:
After any personal functions like blowing your nose or using the toilet.
Whenever hands come in contact with bodily fluids.
Before handling, serving, or eating food or feeding another person.
Before and after invasive procedures.
After assisting another person with personal care.
Every person must commit to proper handwashing in order to reduce the spread of any virus or illness, especially COVID-19. For vulnerable populations and their caretakers, handwashing is an even more important method of prevention. For helpful tools and resources on handwashing, visit IPAC Canada.
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