School Nurse’s Guide to Hand-Washing

Date: March 16, 2017

You might not think much about how clean your hands are, but having clean hands is one of the main ways you can keep yourself and other people healthier. Everyone needs to pay attention to good handwashing rules, including your school nurse, medical doctors, and other people who work in clinics and hospitals. Kids can play an important role in health, too. By washing your hands often, you help reduce the number of germs that get into your body and that you might pass along to other people.

Learning About Handwashing

Just about every surface you touch has germs that you can’t see. When you touch these things, the germs get on your hands. From your hands, the germs can get inside your body if you touch your eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Inside your body, the germs might make you sick. You can also pass germs on to other people if you touch their hands or when you touch surfaces. Washing hands is a great way to prevent germs from passing into your body or passing to other people.

  • Five Common Ways Germs Are Spread (PDF): When you sneeze or cough into your hands and touch other people or surfaces, you can pass your germs on to other people, possibly making them sick.
  • Handwashing Lesson Plans (PDF): Watching water spray from a spray bottle can help you see and understand how germs spray everywhere when someone coughs or sneezes.
  • Why We Wash Our Hands (PDF): Don’t forget to scrub under your fingernails when you wash your hands to make sure you get rid of all the germs hiding there.
  • Handwashing: If you’re wondering how long you should wash your hands, sing a short song like “Happy Birthday” two times and then rinse off your hands.
  • Why Do I Need to Wash My Hands?: Your hands come into contact with germs all the time as you touch things. Washing your hands is important so these germs don’t get into your body, where they could make you sick.
  • Handwashing: Reducing the Risk of Common Infections: Wash your hands before you eat, after you blow your nose, and when you can see that they are dirty.

How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

Just rinsing your hands quickly under water is not enough to kill germs. Most doctors tell their patients that they have to wash their hands for between 20 and 30 seconds to kill all of the germs. You could stand at the sink counting, but there are more entertaining ways to make sure you wash your hands for a long enough time. Sing your favorite song while you lather. Don’t forget to get the soap bubbles into all of the nooks and crannies of your hands and fingers to kill all of the germs.

  • Teaching Handwashing (PDF): Although you can’t see germs, they are lurking on almost everything you touch. It’s important to wash them away before they get into your body.
  • Handwashing: A Family Activity (PDF): Washing your hands often can make you healthier because you’ll be washing away the germs that might give you colds or the flu.
  • Why Handwashing Matters: When you wash your hands, it’s important to do it correctly to remove all of the germs. If you don’t wash long enough, germs may still hide on your hands.
  • Handwashing Do’s and Don’ts: If you can’t wash your hands, hand sanitizer is a good substitute to kill the germs on your hands.
  • Clean Hands Protect Against Infection: Use enough soap to lather all over your hands, and make sure you wash in between your fingers.
  • How to Wash Your Hands: After washing your hands well and rinsing them, make sure you use a clean towel or a disposable towel to dry your hands.
  • Fight Germs and Wash Hands Properly: When you use hand sanitizer, keep rubbing until the cleaner dries completely on your skin.
  • Five Ways You’re Washing Your Hands Wrong: If you don’t dry your hands completely, germs may hop back onto your hands quickly because they love damp surfaces.

Games and Activities

Learning about germs and handwashing can be fun if you play games and do activities. Some websites offer fun games that involve killing germs and bacteria. Crossword puzzles, word scrambles, and word searches are great ways to learn new vocabulary words. You can also color coloring pages to decorate the walls around your sink at home.

  • No Bacteria on My Hands Guide (PDF): Follow the steps in this colorful sign to make sure you’re washing and drying your hands properly.
  • Healthy Hands (PDF): Learn all about hygiene, germs, and handwashing in this fun activity book. You’ll find coloring pages, word scrambles, and crossword puzzles.
  • Lather Up For Good Health (PDF): Knowing when to wash is very important to make sure you’re not passing germs around. Anytime you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose with your hands, you should wash them.
  • Germs and Handwashing: You can’t see germs, but they can make you and other people sick if they get inside the body. Washing your hands with soap is an important way to stay healthy.
  • Teaching Handwashing: Washing your hands doesn’t have to be boring. Sing a song while you lather your fingers and it will be a happier task.
  • Handwashing Coloring Page: Color this picture and hang it by your sink to remind you to wash your hands often.
  • Scrub Club Games: Play games to learn about germs and to help you remember to wash your hands often.
  • Watch Germs Spread: This fun activity can help you see how germs spread between people, possibly spreading sicknesses.
  • The Handwashing Challenge: Learn all about the important times to wash your hands, such as when you come indoors from playing and before you eat.
  • Sink Those Germs: Wash Your Hands! (PDF): This coloring activity sheet helps you think about germs and the times when washing your hands is important for killing germs.
  • Handwashing Lesson (PDF): Explore this handwashing lesson to learn how important clean hands are for staying healthy.
  • Do Not Touch the T-Zone! (PDF): The T-zone is the area on your face that includes your eyes, nose, and mouth. This area is one of the top areas where germs enter your body, so try not to touch the T-zone.
  • Handwashing Word Search (PDF): Find the words about handwashing in this handwashing word search puzzle.