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The 5 W’s of Hand Washing

Most of the illness-causing germs that our kids come in contact with can be found on their hands. They can pick these germs up when they touch door handles, drinking fountains, shared toys and playground equipment. Once these germs spread to the face or mouth of your child, they can quickly turn into a problem.

One of the best ways we can help our children avoid a cold or the flu is to teach them the importance of washing their hands on a regular basis. This includes showing them proper hand washing techniques and talking about why washing hands is so important.

To help your children understand why washing hands is so important, doctors suggest you go over the 5 W’s of hand washing when talking to your children:

Who (should was their hands)?

Everyone! Washing hands on a regular basis is not only important to children – adults, including Mom and Dad should be washing their hands too.

What (should we use)?

The best way to wash your hands is to use running water and soap. Simply rinsing your hands with water isn’t enough. There are hand sanitizers and other products that can work well too, but water and soap is best.

When (should we wash our hands)?

It may not be realistic to have your kids wash their hands several times a day, including every time they come in from recess at school. However, there are a few important times of the day that kids should try to remember:

  1. After using the bathroom

  2. Before eating

  3. When their hands are visibly dirty

  4. On arrival home from school or daycare

  5. After coughing, sneezing or wiping their nose

Where/How (should we wash our hands)?

Starts by getting hands thoroughly wet and then apply soap. It’s important to pay close attention to cleaning under fingernails and in between fingers. Once hands are lathered with soap, be sure to rub them together for about 10 to 20 seconds – long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Rinse hands off and then dry them with a clean towel. You can use the towel to turn the faucet off.

Why (should we wash our hands)?

Explain that the skin on our hands actually does a pretty good job of acting as a barrier against infectious germs. The problem is, if we touch our face or put fingers in our mouths, those germs now have access to the inside of our body. We can help the skin do its job by washing our hands and removing infectious organisms before they transfer to our eyes, nose and mouth.

It’s impossible to prevent illness altogether just by washing hands, but it can definitely help. Remember that AllKids Urgent Care is here to help from noon to 10:00 pm every day should your child need medical attention. Visit us at our Mesa Pediatric Urgent care or our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care.

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