Handwashing Awareness

Back in January, I was using a restaurant restroom when I heard a little girl singing “Happy Birthday.” As soon as she finished, her mom said, “Sing it again.”

Her mom explained that they sing the Happy Birthday song twice so they know how long to wash their hands. Turns out, her mom was right. And this was information we were all going to need to get through 2020, which was no party.

Hand washing became one of the hottest activities of the year, thanks to COVID-19. While most of us learned about the importance of keeping our hands clean in elementary school, for some folks this was a new idea. And unless you’re in the medical field, you probably didn’t know there are guidelines to getting your hands clean.

First, rinse your hands, pump some soap into your palm, and lather up good for 20 seconds (about how long it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice), scrubbing between your fingers and under your nails. Rinse your hands under running water and dry on a clean towel or air dry.

The Centers for Disease Control advises washing your hands frequently to prevent the spread of the germs including:
  • Before and after touching your nose, eyes, or mouth
  • Before and after touching your mask
  • Before and after leaving a public place
  • Before and after touching gas pumps, shopping carts, door handles, and electronic screens, like at the ATM and grocery store
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
  • After touching, feeding, or cleaning up after pets or animals
  • After touching garbage
2020 and Handwashing Awareness

So how about hand sanitizers, one of the biggest sellers of 2020? Yea, they work and are good if you aren’t near a sink and soap. Just read the label to be sure that your sanitizer is at least 60 percent alcohol. Sanitizers don’t kill all germs and they aren’t going to clean your hands if they’re really dirty or greasy, but they are the next best thing to soap and water – especially if you’re on the go.

Dab a little in your palm and rub all over your hands, including between your fingers, for about 20 seconds. You know what to do.

“Happy birthday to you…”

By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers


Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas

Surepoint Emergency Center is a modern emergency medical facility open 24/7/365. As an alternative to the traditional hospital ER experience, we offer convenience and minimal wait time, along with highly-trained emergency medical staff and state-of-the-art equipment.

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