Keeping Your Kids Physically Healthy
Handwashing and Water Temperature
Handwashing is universally touted by health professionals as a major requirement for avoiding physical illness. Parents are constantly urged to ensure that their kids keep their hands clean and free from germs that cause colds, flu, fevers & stomach viruses. Hand washing works!
Many parents have long believed that the hotter the water the more germs that are killed. This turns out to be FALSE.
Water Temperature Does NOT Matter
Researchers from Rutgers University placed a strain of the E. coli virus on the hands of a group of volunteers. The volunteers then had soap applied to their hands & washed their hands under different water temperatures – from cold to hot.
“Whether you use 60-degree Fahrenheit or 100-degree Fahrenheit temperature — or something in the middle — none of those temperatures had a significantly different effect than the other. They were all effective in removing bacteria from the hand,” the lead researcher reported.
What DOES Kill Germs?:
Two actions are necessary to remove the most germs from your child’s hands:
*Wash hands for at least 10 seconds.
ACTION PLAN: THE RIGHT WAY TO WASH YOUR HANDS
Here's what the science says:
1. Sing 'Happy Birthday'
The song takes about 12-15 seconds, which is the amount of time people should wash their hands.
2. Lather with soap
Water alone won't remove enough germs – use soap, if available. You do NOT need to use antibacterial soap. It does little or nothing to make the soap work better, according to the FDA.
3. Dry with a paper towel or clean hand towel
The act of physically rubbing with a towel actually removes some extra bacteria that the washing does not remove.
4. Use the water temp you like
Still feel like you need hot water to have clean hands? Go ahead. Do what makes you comfortable. Just make sure to wash your hands. If you prefer colder water, use it.
People who frequently wash or do so with hot water might experience cracked and broken skin, which harbors bacteria. This dry skin also makes it harder for people to remove bacteria, so lotion can be helpful.