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Keep your hands clean this Holiday season

National Handwashing Week December 3 - 9 is a good reminder to wash!

Post Date:12/01/2017 2:58 PM

December 1, 2017
McHenry County Department of Health
2200 N Seminary Avenue, Woodstock IL
Contact Keri Zaleski 815-334-4456; cell 815-236-3238

WOODSTOCK IL – If avoiding getting sick and missing out on Holiday get-togethers sounds good to you, McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) recommends that you simply wash your hands, which greatly increases your chance of staying healthy.   According to the Global Handwashing website (, if everyone washed their hands regularly we could cut diarrhea by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter.

Here’s some common sense advice from Mike Hill, Administrator for MCDH, “Handwashing is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of avoiding illness. Hill goes on to say “Washing not only helps keep you healthy, it keeps people around you from catching an illness that you’re carrying from germs on your hands – this is particularly important around infants or someone with a weakened immune system”.  Your hands have an average of 1,500 germs on each square centimeter. Your office desk has an average of 21,000 germs per square inch. We touch our faces about 4 times per hour (more by some estimates).  Research shows us that the simple act of handwashing before preparing food and after using the bathroom drastically reduces transferring those germs to other people or surfaces.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.

If you have school kids you’ve probably heard the most effective handwashing tips from them.  For the rest of us, a visit to the CDC website tells us we should:

  • Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather by rubbing hands with the soap. Lather the backs, between fingers, and under nails.
  • Scrub for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice).
  • Rinse well under clean, running water.
  • Dry using a clean towel or air dry.


The week of December 3-9 is National Handwashing Week.  That’s a good time to think about what you can do to improve your handwashing habit.  Like your mother always told you, “It pays to keep your hands clean”!