National Hand Washing Awareness Week was December 4-10 this year. This was a health holiday every business and school can get behind and support. No matter what your profession, you can help spread the message throughout the year that will benefit all of your clients, patients, or students as well as their families and your entire community.
First, bring in speakers who can help students understand the importance of washing their hands on a regular basis. Sure, they know they are supposed to wash their hands, but how many of them really understand why? Use microscopes to show them germs, have a history lesson on how mortality declined once hand washing became mandatory in hospitals, or have someone explain just what some of the really nasty bugs can do. Be sure to make the experience fun and interactive rather than a lecture format to keep students interested.
Whether you are in a physical therapy office or a medical office, you have plenty of opportunites to talk about the importance of hand washing. While most medical professionals wash or sanitize their hands between each patient, how many patients think about doing the same thing when they leave the office? Provide a large container of hand sanitizer for patients to use, and explain how it will kill most germs and is a great option for when they don’t have access to soap and water.
This is a great time of year for a giveaway! Give each customer a pocket sized bottle of hand sanitizer along with a booklet explaining the benefits and the dangers of not keeping hands clean. During flu season especially, it can be devastating to neglect hand hygiene. Customers will appreciate the gift and may purchase more in the future once they become accustomed to using it on a regular basis. If you have time you may even be able to purchase personalized labels that have the name and information for your pharmacy included to remind them how much you care.
Time to Sing!
Singing a song can be one of the best ways to keep those hands under the water for the right amount of time. If you have a captive audience remind them they should be actively scrubbing their hands for about 20 seconds. This is the length it takes the average person to sing the ABC song, however, that can become quite monotonous. Ask people to think of their favorite song and time the chorus – if it fits, use it!
How do you make sure those you work closely with are aware of the importance of hand washing? What do you think is the best way to get clients or students to wash their hands more frequently and thoroughly?