Handwashing Awareness Week is December 3rd – 9th, 2023
One of the easiest and most important ways to stay healthy is by keeping your hands clean!
When done correctly, handwashing helps protect you from getting sick. It protects others by preventing the spread of germs and viruses, including COVID-19 and seasonal respiratory illnesses.
When is it important to wash your hands?
- After blowing your nose
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after handling food
- Before eating or drinking
- After playing outside
- After playing with animals
- After handling garbage
- If hands look or feel dirty
- After visiting a public place
What is the most effective handwashing technique
- Wet your hands with warm water
- Add soap
- Rub all surfaces of the hand, between fingers, and around nails for at least 20 seconds
- Dry, and
- Turn off the tap with a paper towel.
What about when soap and water are not readily available?
Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Use enough to wet both hands entirely and rub all surfaces as you would with hand soap. Because hand sanitizer does not eliminate all germs, including some germs that cause diarrhea, always wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet, after handling trash, and when hands are visibly dirty.
What can schools do to promote hand hygiene?
Promote good hand hygiene in your school by:
- Building time and routines into the school day for handwashing.
- Teaching good handwashing technique.
- Supervise and help young children with proper handwashing.
- Handwashing Kit – WECHU
This kit* details the importance of proper handwashing and includes a demonstration of handwashing using the GlitterBug® Potion and black light so that students can see areas that they did not wash effectively.
*To request a kit, contact your school nurse or send an email to email@example.com
- School Hand Hygiene Signage – WECHU
Download signage for your school about handwashing.
- Hand washing and staying healthy – Government of Canada
Covers key times to perform handwashing, steps to preform handwashing, and also has Hand-washing heroes video (also available in French).
- Proper Hand Washing Technique and Hand Washing Frequently Asked Questions - Ophea
- Hand Hygiene in Schools and Early Care and Education Settings – Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (English only)
Resources that provide tips to teach and promote hand hygiene