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Hand Hygiene for Young Kids

With the summer season taking peak, so do germs. Fueled with a warm climate, lots of sweat and kids mingling day in and day out germs tend to have a ball making kids and adults fall sick. Keeping the summer interactions in mind, hand hygiene takes the spot light as a preventive measure to keep kids healthy during the summers. While hand hygiene is the most basic preventive measure and important all year round, summer and rainy season require it more so.
Now comes the question of teaching younger kids these hand hygiene habits and more importantly ensuring that they follow these habits. Here are our words of the wise to help you do just that.

1.    Start young: Teach kids the proper way to wash hands and about maintaining hand hygiene from a very young age. Habits, both good and bad created at an early age last a life time. Make hand washing fun for them so that they do not skip it. Start off by getting them to wash hands with you and turn it into a fun activity to bond over. Additionally they need to see you maintaining hand hygiene so that they can follow.

2.    Teach it right: Teach kids the correct way of washing hands. Also teach them about how harmful the soap and hand wash can be if ingested. That ways they will steer clear of being tempted to try eating or drinking sweet smelling the soap. Teach them a hand wash song so they wash their hands long enough for the soap to work. The correct way to wash hands is

  • Wet hands with warm water
  • Rub soap all over both hands
  • Rub hands against each other
  • Rub in between the fingers
  • Run the back of the hands
  • Run under the nails
  • Wash with warm running water
  • Dab dry on a clean napkin

Hands should be washed for at least 20-30 seconds if not more.

3.    Sanitize it: Warm water and soap are not always going to be available, especially when travelling. At these times use a good hand sanitizer. There are two types of hand sanitizers available in the market. Alcohol based and non-alcohol based. When using either types of hand sanitizers make it a point that kids use it under adult supervision only. Additionally sanitizers should only be used on visibly clean hands, they do not suffice for visibly dirty and soiled hands. Hands should be properly rubbed like washing when using the sanitizer till it evaporates.

4.    When to wash: Teach kids the basics as to when hand require a thorough cleaning. Before and after meals, before and after using the washroom, after playing with pets, before and after vising sick patients, after touching open wounds and bodily fluids, after handling meat etc. Knowing the how, when and where are important when it comes to teaching young kids about hand hygiene.

Kids can be taught hand hygiene at any age, but the sooner the better since the earlier they learn it the more likely it is that they will stick to the habit.

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