Hand Washing While Social Distancing
The season of camping, family reunions, and outdoor activities take us to places where dirt, plants, and rocks surround us. If food is involved in any activity, properly washing our hands will be necessary to remove as many germs as possible. When running water from a spigot and soap is available, handwashing can occur and is improved if water can be heated. Warm water is better at removing grease from hands and dissolving difficult substances.
As communities continue to social distance, planning for efficient washing of hands with large groups can be a challenge. Consider the high-speed hand washing method to stay 6 feet away from your neighbor and make the process go smoothly.
Follow these steps. The first group of persons lines up 6 feet apart next to the handwashing area. The first person turns on the water at a low flow of pressure, wets their hands, shakes off excess water, gets a pump of soap, then begins lathering by rubbing and scrubbing while moving to the end of the line while paying attending to 6 feet spacing while moving. As soon as space is clear and while maintaining 6 feet spacing, the next person steps to the water and repeats the process.
Wondering if you are doing a good job lathering while in line? Try increasing the bubbles to lift the germs off their hands. Move up the line maintaining 6 feet of spacing as people ahead of you come away from the water. When the first person is back at the handwashing station, they rinse their hands, get a paper towel and step away 6 feet from the handwashing station while drying their hands on the paper towel, which they dispose of in the trash.
High-speed handwashing works great at the beginning of work shifts, after breaks, before and after meals, after school recess, after gardening or working with animals, or any time you need to wash your hands. With practice, this process will go more quickly, and your confidence will increase as you contribute to the safety of the food we handle and your well-being. To learn more about this process, visit beav.es/HighSpeedHandWashing
Julie Buck, EdD, RDN, is a registered dietitian, who is employed as a family and consumer sciences educator at the University of Idaho Extension, Bingham County. She can be reached at 208-785-8060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.