How many times have you washed your hands with soap today?
I bet there is someone reading who will answer none, despite the chance that your day may have already included tasks such as going to the toilet or preparing food. The reason I ask is because today is Global Handwashing Day.
So, why should that be important to you? If we have poor hand hygiene, our hands can help spread viral infections.
We’ve enjoyed a relatively mild September and October, but it won’t be long before the cold winter months are here.
Some health problems are triggered or worsened by cold weather, and this can be particularly serious for people who are already ill or have a long-term condition.
Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent infection from spreading.
Handwashing should last at least 15 seconds.
Here are a few simple steps to help you on your way:
l Wet your hands with water and apply enough soap or handwash to cover all hand surfaces.
l Rub your hands palm to palm, followed by the right palm over the other hand with interlaced fingers and vice versa.
l Next be palm to palm with your fingers interlaced, then have the backs of your fingers to your opposing palms with your fingers interlocked.
l Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa, then try rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with your clasped fingers of right hand in your left palm and vice versa.
l Rinse hands with water and dry thoroughly with a towel.
Handwashing isn’t the only thing you can do to keep yourself well this winter.
Keeping warm through the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions.
Eating well and keeping hydrated will give you energy, which will also keep your body warm.
Don’t forget your elderly relatives or neighbours too. Checking to make sure they are warm and have food or medicine could save them from trying to make trips out in the very cold weather.
Finally, be prepared yourselves. Many winter ailments can be cared for at home with simple over-the-counter or home remedies.
If you’d like more information on how to stay healthy this winter, visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Winterhealthhome.aspx