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When and how to wash your hands
December 15, 2023

By Antonio, East Norriton Bulldog Bulletin | What you do in your daily life attracts germs, whether touching the toilet, playing in the mud, or petting your dog or cat.

Have you washed your hands today? If not, that could have serious health consequences.

According to the KidsHealth website, hand washing helps get rid of germs on your body by stopping germs from spreading. It’s the best way to do it! So when is a good time to wash your hands? There are so many times! KidsHealth gives these tips:

  • When your hands are dirty
  • Before eating or touching food
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose or coughing
  • After petting animals
  • After playing outside
  • Before and after spending time with someone who is sick

So now that we know when you should wash your hands, what is the best way to wash them? 

KidsHealth has more tips:

  • Use warm or cold (not hot) water
  • Use whatever soap you like (antibacterial soaps are OK to use, but regular soap works fine too)
  • Work up some lather on both sides of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers
  • Wash around your nails as this is one place germs like to hide.

Don’t forget to rinse your hands well and then dry them with a clean towel, KidsHealth says.

East Norriton Nurse Mrs. Zangara explains how long we should wash our hands. “A good tip for how long to wash your hands is to count to 20 or sing the song Happy Birthday twice,” she said.

 She recommends washing your hands often throughout the day to stay healthy.

So how long do East Norriton students wash their hands? The Bulldog Bulletin polled nine students and found nearly half (41.7%) said they thought you should wash your hands for 20 seconds to get them clean. The class did an experiment to see the results of hand washing.

First, students put “Glow Germ” on their hands and looked at their hands under a black light to see the fake germs. Then students washed their hands for a specific amount of time—10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60 seconds. Then they all went into a dark closet and looked at their hands under the black light again. The results showed that 60 seconds of hand-washing got the most Glow Germ off the students’ hands, but there was still some germ residue there—even on some of the students’ faces and clothing!

So what’s the point? Lather up and scrub! Germs are everywhere.

—Antonio is in fifth grade.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.

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