Happy Birthday to you (twice!) Why washing your hands is the easiest way to protect yourself from illness.
There’s a lot in the news at the moment about viruses being spread and washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu.
You should wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds) although maybe refrain from doing this in public toilets - or sing it in your head!
If you do not have immediate access to soap and water then use alcohol-based handrub if available.
When should you wash your hands?
You should wash your hands:
Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as food poisoning, flu or diarrhoea.
It can help stop people picking up infections and spreading them to others, as well as helping to stop spreading infections when you're visiting someone in hospital or another healthcare setting.
Here is some advice regarding hygiene against coronavirus (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public)
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub eliminates the virus if it is on your hands.
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Why? Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing prevents the spread of germs and viruses. If you sneeze or cough into your hands, you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
Why? When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
Ensure regular hand washing with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands; and avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Strictly avoid any contact with other animals in the market (e.g., stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds, bats). Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities.
and handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
This may sound quite alarming and restricting, but you’re probably doing this already, it’s just these little tips and tricks that can make all the difference and keep you healthy.
Watch this video to find out the best way to wash your hands and happy birthday to you! Twice…