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Handwashing: The Key To Having A Healthy Holiday Season
Washing your hands is the most effective way to keep germs from hijacking your health. Especially during the holidays when it’s easy to get swept into the excitement of the holiday season and to forget some of the "little things" (like frequent handwashing) that typically are top of mind.
A lot of people spend months looking forward to gathering with friends and family for meals, exchanging gifts, and bringing in the new year. This can create a blind spot on your radar for potential health risks. That's why we’re diving into the importance of handwashing and how to come out of this holiday season healthy and happy even during a pandemic.
Handwashing During The Holidays Is More Important Than Ever
Due to COVID-19, a lot of families will celebrate the holidays this year within their own household. Others will hit the road - holidays as usual. If you plan to travel to spend time with loved ones, make the extra effort to keep holiday handwashing top of mind. Handwashing has been the topic of a lot of discussions this year, but you’d be surprised how many people still don’t exercise proper handwashing protocol or ignore it all together.
When the holidays come around, many people get so focused and overjoyed with the festivities that frequent handwashing drops of the radar. But handwashing is sort of like driving a car. It's not just about you - it's also about other people in your area. In order to achieve safety and optimal health over the holidays, people should properly take care of their responsibilities while considering everyone else still around them.
How Hands Move Germs That Make People Sick
As much as we hate to think about it, there’s no getting around the fact human and animal feces (poop) is a common contributor to the spreading of unwanted germs. Viruses, bacteria, and parasites found in human and animal stool can cause an array of health issues for adults and children.
Some germs can cause mild sickness, while other germs like Salmonella and E. coli., and parasites can cause serious health issues. Harmful germs like these find their way onto people’s hands from regular daily activities like restroom visits, changing diapers, and cleaning up after animals. But germs from stool aren't the only dirty germs that set up breeding grounds on your hands.
Foodborne pathogens can find their way onto hands after handling raw meats and poultry - a practice that always increases around the holiday season.
Handwashing By The Numbers
We all want to believe the people we interact with and who are around us the most are avid hand washers. But, the reality is (and studies prove) a lot of people are unfortunately negligent hand washers. A recent study by YouGov unveiled 40% of people in the U.S. leave handwashing out of their bathroom routine. Ewwww.
The study done by YouGov polled 24,000 US adults and concluded the following data…
- 58% percent of adults in the study claim they always wash their hands with soap after using the restroom at home
- 25% say they wash their hands with soap most of the time they use the restroom at home.
- 10% say they wash their hands with soap some of the time they use the restroom at home.
- Only 4% of the people surveyed in YouGov’s study claim they rarely use soap after they use the restroom at home.
- And, the same study concluded that women have a tendency to wash their hands with soap after using the restroom at home (63%) more than men do (53%).
Although the YouGov study surveys a small sample size, it’s obvious that improper handwashing is more rampant than one would hope. Especially when you consider the correlation between people’s behavior in the kitchen and foodborne illnesses.
In a two year study conducted by the USDA, 1,000 people were observed prepping, cooking, and serving food in a kitchen setting. The study specifically focused on raw poultry. Their observation uncovered some staggering facts about this particular group's behavior in regards to proper handwashing.
Here’s what the USDA reported during and after the two year study...
- During the first two years of the observational study, participants did not wash their hands sufficiently 99% of the time before and during meal preparation. The most common reason for unsuccessful handwashing was not scrubbing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- During these observations, researchers identified thousands of opportunities in which participants should have washed their hands to prevent the transfer of bacteria. Across both studies, participants did not even attempt to wash their hands between 70 and 75% of the time when it was required.
- When they did attempt handwashing, many participants did not scrub their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Other errors included not wetting their hands with water before applying soap and not drying their hands with a clean or one-use towel, which are crucial steps.
You could look at more studies, surveys, and stats until you’re blue in the face. But you don’t need any more data to tell you that a lot of people are skimping on handwashing. The good news is that you can safeguard yourself and loved ones from dirty germs this holiday season. You can train yourself or share good hand hygiene practices with loved ones if you see a red flag. Simply leading by example could go a lot further than you think.
So, let’s dive into how and when you’ll want to wash your hands to make sure you’ve got the right method and key times down pat.
How and When To Wash Your Hands; The Key to a Healthy Holiday Season
If you want to prevent your hands from becoming a playground for germs, it’s important to know how and when to wash your hands appropriately. Below are 5 steps the Center For Disease Control (CDC) recommends following to wash away germs that your hands could collect from touching people or surfaces.
Step #1 - Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Step #2 - Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Step #3 - Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Step #4 - Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Step #5 - Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Adults and children both can follow these 5 steps to knock out common viruses and even COVID-19. But what about using hand soap vs. hand sanitizer? A lot of people will claim hand sanitizer is more powerful than using a good bar soap. But there’s proof that theory couldn’t be further from the truth.
Washing your hands the “right way” with soap dissolves the lipid bi-layer found in viruses. When the “fatty” bi-layers are broken down, the virus crumbles like a stack of Jenga blocks - completely deactivating the virus.
A lot of people believe that antibacterial products will “kill” dirty germs. This theory is partly true and antibacterial items can work. But you don’t need to use harsh antibacterial chemicals to keep your hands clean. You can actually get the job done more effectively with less cleaning product by using soap and water.
The process of handwashing removes glue-like layers that allow viruses to attach to surfaces, where gels and liquid sanitizers have to soak on the virus to work. And remember that hand sanitizers just sanitize what they come in contact with; they cannot remove dirt or debris from your hands.
"I also bought a soap dish for my bathroom, and I bought this bar of soap to use for hand washing. I love the scent! I also love how soft and smooth it leaves my skin." - Billie H.
It’s easy to say the 5 steps to keeping your hands germ free are fairly simple. And to ensure everyone is aware of when to implement proper handwashing, the CDC also provides the 10 key times to wash your hands.
The CDC’s Key Times To Wash Your Hands...
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick.
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
- After shaking someone’s hand
Due to the heightened measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC also recommends washing your hands after visiting public places and before touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Why A Natural Goat Milk Soap Is Amazing For Washing Away Germs
If you know your handwashing is going to increase, and you’d like to keep your skin soft and healthy, Goat Milk Stuff Goat Milk Soap can help you get the job done.
One question you might have is… “is soap made with raw goat’s milk as effective as regular soap?" The answer: YES.
"I LOVE LOVE LOVE the liquid goat milk foaming soap. I am OCD about hand washing and this soap keeps my hands moisturized. The refill makes it easy - I Never run out!" - Lori W.
Aside from having the cleaning power to wash away bacteria and viruses, a natural goat milk soap can keep germs away. When people use harsh hand-sanitizers, chemical body washes, detergents, and water-based soaps, they can experience extreme dryness and flaking. Germs love to nestle into the cracks in dry skin. This can cause a big problem, even if you wash your hands the right way and at the right times. You see, the germs and bacteria that can get into cuts and cracks can slide under the skin. This makes it really tough to get a good clean and remove them.
With a natural bar of high-quality Goat Milk Soap, you don't have to worry about drying out and destroying the skin on your hands. The vitamins and minerals found in raw goat milk provide an extra benefit to a solid deep clean. When you use Goat Milk Stuff’s soap you may start to notice that cracks and cuts on your hands heal and your hands stay soft. Our handmade natural soap excludes the harsh chemicals and alcohols found in a typical soap or hand sanitizer. That means when you use Goat Milk Stuff soap you get two BIG benefits - super clean hands and healthy skin.
Now that you know how germs get on your hands, how to properly handwash, and when to wash your hands, the rest is up to you!
Use the handwashing steps outlined above and put them into practice with a handy bar of Natural Goat Milk Soap and clean water.
- If you are sensitive to scents, choose an Unscented Goat Milk Soap. (The Purity is the most popular.)
- If you prefer something scented, choose a Scented Goat Milk Soap.
- Choose from the available Goat Milk Soap sizes.
- If you're unsure where to start, the Goat Milk Soap Sample Pack contains one travel bar of each of the 24 Classic Goat Milk Soap varieties.
- If you prefer the convenience, a foaming Liquid Goat Milk Soap is available in 8 varieties.
- If your hands are dried and cracking, we have Solid Goat Milk Lotion available to help relieve and heal your skin.
As always, we appreciate it if you share this post with a friend or family member. Make sure to Contact Us if you have any questions about our Goat Milk Soaps or other items.