Handwashing is ingrained in most individuals from a young age. It acts as an important preventative step against bacteria and viruses. In the lead up to winter, and therefor flu season, it’s even more of a necessity.

Handwashing properly and for an adequate amount of time will reduce the risk of germs or pathogens. Most will understand the fact that running water is recommended to wash your hands but scrubbing and time washing are the most commonly misunderstood elements.

According to the CDC, you should rigorously lather your palms, back of hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrubbing creates the friction needed to lift microbes off skin. The length of time for handwashing is often dependant on a variety of factors, however 15-30 seconds is generally recommended. One way to remember is by humming the ‘happy birthday’ tune twice over.

Here in the VIVA! offices, we’re often exposed to concerning information regarding the infectious nature of viruses such as flu. Small virus-containing droplets can be released into the air via coughing or sneezing, passing the virus on via respiratory pathways or from contaminated surfaces.

If an individual coughs or sneezes into their hand while on public transport and then holds on to one the poles to steady themselves, the virus may remain there for up to eight hours. Handwashing can particularly prevent the spread of the virus through this method, if you don’t touch your face before getting to the sink.

Research has found that, on average, people touch their faces 3.6 times each hour. Given that viruses can easily be spread via contact to our mucous membranes (mouth, nose and eyes) this leaves plenty of opportunity for self-inoculation.

Should you not have access to water and soap, hand sanitiser can be used as a substitute however it doesn’t eliminate all types of germs.

The VIVA! office is set to be well stocked with soap and sanitiser throughout the winter months as we head in to peak flu season.