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Tis the Season For Sharing, But Not Germs; Top 5 Reasons Why Washing Your Hands Is Important

December 3rd, 2018

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. 80% of common infections are spread by hands. For the general public, washing your hands at a minimum of five times a day has been shown to significantly decrease the frequency of colds, influenza (the “flu”) and other infections.

In honor of National Handwashing Awareness Week (December 2 – 7), Mercy Medical Center’s Director of Infection Prevention, Kelly Mulholland, BSN, RN-BC, CCRN-K, CIC, shares the top five reasons why washing your hands is important.

  1. Tis the season for sharing, but NOT germs (80% of infections are spread by hands.) The CDC notes that proper handwashing has been found to reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by nearly a third, and reduces colds and related diseases by 16-21%.
  2. Flu germs are spread not only from droplets in the air but from touching items that may have the flu germs on them; like door handles, ATM machines, shopping cart handles, cell phones, etc.
  3. You can’t see the bacteria on your hands; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth since the germs on your hands can spread into your body.
  4. During the holidays with much food preparation and gathering together with larger groups of family and friends, the spread of germs from your hands increases.  
  5. Washing your hands can SAVE LIVES.

 Ms. Mulholland also shared tips on how and when to properly wash your hands: 

  •  Using alcohol-based hand rub (gel, liquid or foam) apply a palm full and rub around your hand making sure to cover all surfaces of your wrists, back of your hands, nails and thumbs too.
  • Rub until the solution is dry about 15 – 20 seconds.
  • Soap and water is to be used if your hands are visibly soiled and after using the bathroom.
  • Use alcohol-based hand rub for all other instances; after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, after touching animals, before eating or preparing food.

For more information, visit www.mercymedicalcenter.chsli.org or call 516-62-MERCY/516-626-3729.

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 About Mercy Medical Center
Celebrating more than 100 years, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre is designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, as well as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Mercy is also the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons and consecutive Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Awards from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. And, in recognition of the value it places on superior nursing care, Mercy has the Pathway to Excellence® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Mercy provides comprehensive medical and surgical care and is a leader in minimally-invasive surgery, joint-replacement, orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, spine and neurosurgery, in-patient acute rehabilitation, diagnostic and interventional radiology, maternity and newborn services and women’s health. Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® is a registered trademark of the American Society For Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). Used by permission of ASMBS.

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