Healthwatch: One Hand Washes the Other

Students, ranging in age from six to eight, learned an important lesson for good health that we all should practice: thorough hand washing.

It was one of the many safety topics stressed at the Fifth Annual Summer Safety Shakedown, sponsored free of charge by Rush Hospital.

Registered nurse Pat Clark talked about the reasons why clean hands can help keep you healthy.

"The cold germ like any other germ is spread by touch," said Clark.
"And it's on any surface. So hand washing is the most important thing we do, because if we cough into our hands and not wash and then we touch something, then we're spreading our germs that way."

Clark showed why appearances can be deceiving. She sent several children to the sink to wash their hands and asked them to do a good job, rubbing liquid soap into their hands for at least 20 seconds.

Then she put their hands under a special light to see how they did. Purple spots indicated the presence of dirt, germs, or bacteria, even after children had washed their hands.

"Wash them when I get back from outside and doing stuff," said Cody Bonner, describing what he learned.

"We have to be careful. Touching an elevator button, opening the door to a restaurant, opening the door at the mall, picking up packages," said Clark. "There are so many things. Everything we touch has been touched by someone previous to us and we don't know who that was or what they carry."

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