As children, we’re typically encouraged to wash our hands. There’s more to it than fingerprints around the house.


As children, we’re typically encouraged to wash our hands. There’s more to it than fingerprints around the house.
Valentina Remig, a food safety and nutrition specialist, who, while based at K-State, recently completed a USDA-funded food safety campaign for baby boomers, said: “hand washing is effective in preventing almost half of all cases of foodborne illness and spread of the common cold and flu.”
“It's so easy to do,” said Remig, who encourages four simple steps for health:
Wet hands with warm water
Scrub with soap and water for 20 seconds
Rinse well with warm water
Air dry or dry with a single-use towel.
Hand washing is encouraged before, during -- each time raw or cooked food or food packages are touched -- and after food preparation; before and after eating, feeding children or others; after using a restroom, and before and after changing a diaper or helping a child use the restroom; handling clean or dirty dishes, food waste or other trash; sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose or a helping a child or older adult blow his or her nose; touching face, hair, body, cut or other sore; cleaning; handling dirty clothes and doing the laundry; using a telephone or computer, and using touch pads at home and in public places, such as at a bank or supermarket when asked for a number or identifying word, and smoking.
If water isn’t available, moistening hands with a hand sanitizer and rubbing vigorously for 30 to 60 seconds is recommended, said Remig, who worked with Kevin Roberts, an assistant professor of Hospitality Management and Dietetics at K-State, and Gerry Snyder, K-State multimedia specialist, on the project.
With health a goal, most people typically feel better, enjoy quality of life, and can hold down health care costs, Remig said.
More information on food safety and health is available at K-State Research and Extension offices throughout the state and online: www.ksre.ksu.edu/foodsafety/. To learn more about the K-State-USDA project, click on “Food Safety for Boomers and Beyond.”