We are experiencing exceptionally high volumes in our emergency rooms.
Every patient is important to us, and we are doing all we can to provide care quickly and efficiently.
Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

Hand Washing: Why It's So Important

Why Is Hand Washing So Important?

It's a message worth repeating — hand washing is by far the best way to keep kids from getting sick and prevent the spread of germs.

What's the Best Way to Wash Hands?

Here's how to scrub those germs away. Teach this to your kids — or better yet, wash your hands together often so they learn how important this good habit is:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold). Make sure the water isn't too hot for little hands.
  2. Use soap and lather up for about 20 seconds. Antibacterial soap isn't a must — any soap will do.
  3. Make sure you get in between your fingers, on the backs of hands, and under the nails where germs like to hang out. And don't forget the wrists!
  4. Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.

When Should We Wash Our Hands?

To stop the spread of germs in your family, make regular hand washing a rule for everyone. It's especially important:

  • before eating and cooking
  • after using the bathroom
  • after cleaning around the house
  • after touching animals, including family pets
  • before and after visiting or taking care of any sick friends or relatives
  • after blowing one's nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • after being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)

How Do Clean Hands Help Health?

Good hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses — from the common cold to more serious infections, such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, the flu, hepatitis A, and many types of diarrhea.

How Do Germs Spread?

Germs can spread many ways, including:

  • touching dirty hands
  • changing dirty diapers
  • through contaminated water and food
  • through droplets in the air released during a cough or sneeze
  • on contaminated surfaces
  • through contact with a sick person's body fluids

When kids come into contact with germs, they can become infected just by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. And once they're infected, it's usually just a matter of time before the whole family comes down with the same illness.

So don't underestimate the power of hand washing! The time you spend at the sink could save you trips to the doctor's office.

Reviewed by: Michelle M. Karten, MD
Date Reviewed: 10-09-2018

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.