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Your Healthy Family: Proper hand washing can save lives

Posted at 12:59 PM, May 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-09 11:48:49-04

Disclaimer: This is sponsored content. All opinions and views are of  UCHealth and does not reflect the same of KOAA.

In today's Your Healthy Family: Friday, May 5th, is World Hand Hygiene Day. The pandemic certainly put a new focus and raised awareness about the importance of hand-washing. Now with much of life back to normal regarding our day-to-day activities, is hand-washing something that is still a priority in your daily life?

Bryan Knepper is the infection prevention manager for UCHealth in the southern region of Colorado.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, hand-washing improved a lot,” he said. “I think that over time, as people have gotten used to being in the pandemic, that probably has decreased. And it's probably back to where it was pre-pandemic at this point.”

Just because COVID-19 is no longer the same public health emergency it was, that doesn’t mean we should be taking washing our hands any less seriously.

Bryan says, “Hand-washing is as important as it has ever been because viruses and bacteria are still around. There are still a lot of viruses and bacteria out there and a lot of them like to live on surfaces, so it's important to have clean hands if you want to protect yourself and your family.”

Bryan also adds that regular hand-washing can help us avoid many common illnesses. “Influenza is a big one that people usually think about being transmitted by coughing and sneezing but it does like to live on surfaces, so you can pick it up from touching a doorknob and then touching your face, rubbing your eyes.

“Other things that you can pick up from surfaces when your hands aren't clean are gastrointestinal bugs or the stomach flu. Norovirus is the technical term for most of those. They cause vomiting and other unpleasant things that you really don't want. They spread really easily from person to person, from touching surfaces and then not washing your hands and then contaminating yourself. “

Coming up in our next story, Bryan will talk about how often we should be washing hands, and the proper technique he teaches employees in the hospital that we can all use to live a healthier life.

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