The first week in December is National Handwashing Awareness Week, and honestly, there isn’t a better year than 2020 for this particular topic. The winter season is always known for the spread of cold and flu season, but this year, we are also battling these viruses along with the COVID-19 virus. So, we need to build up our immune systems and practice good personal hygiene skills if we want to remain healthy! We are taught at a very young age to practice basic handwashing skills. Clean hands help prevent illness, so it’s very important that we know the purpose of practicing good handwashing. 


Here is a quick timeline of the history and research in the spread of disease:

400 BCE — Greek historian Thucydides is the first to suggest that disease can spread from person to person. 

1546 — Germ theory begins as Italian scholar Girolamo Fracastoro suggests that epidemics are caused by small “spores” that are transmitted from one person to another.

C. 1807 — Italian entomologist Agostino Bassi discovers that microorganisms cause disease.

1860 — Frenchman Louis Pasteur researches causes and preventions of diseases, which lead to breakthroughs in vaccinations. 

Proper Handwashing

Researchers and medical professionals recommend that proper handwashing includes washing with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, making sure to get a good lather going and cleaning the backs of each hand, then using a clean towel to dry. They also recommend remembering the five steps: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry. The four principles of handwashing are: washing your hands when they are dirty and before eating, do not cough into hands, do not sneeze into hands, and do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your fingers. This will ensure that the spread of disease will be kept to a minimum. 

Be Extra Careful During the Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, it is important to ensure that we take care of our bodies and continue to build our immune systems up so that we can try to keep our typical traditions alive. Nourishing our bodies with appropriate foods, vitamins, and minerals needed to maintain healthy immune systems is the best way to do so, along with washing our hands to reduce the spread of germs. So, make sure you follow these proper hand washing steps listed above correctly, continue to practice social distancing, and reducing your risk of exposure to illness. 


About the Author

Chelsea Woods has a Master’s degree in special education and is an Educational Diagnostician. Her passion is children, particularly children with special needs. Chelsea has been married to her husband Dylan for 6 years, and they have two girls, Kamdyn, five, and Emersyn, one. She enjoys time with her church family, working in their garden, and taking vacations and making memories as a family.