Handwashing by Kathea Pinto on flikr

Tis’ the season for festivities, family and fun. The last thing you’d like to partake in is sniffles, colds or the flu. Sneezes, after all, are like mini hurricanes as a typical human sneeze exits the body at about 200 miles per hour and emits around 40,000 droplets into the air, which contain bacteria and if you’re ill, viruses too.

One main way to prevent yourself from falling victim to the cold weather is to wash your hands. National Handwashing week, which takes place between December 2nd-December 8th, is celebrated to promote better hygiene and reduce illnesses that come around this time of year.

According to awarenessdays.com, the motto of the week is ‘Spread the Word Not the Germs‘ and the best way to take care of yourself is to:

  • Wash your hands before eating, and when dirty.
  • DO NOT cough into your hands (use your elbow)
  • DO NOT sneeze into your hands (use a tissue)
  • DO NOT put your fingers into your nose, eyes or mouth (avoid face touching)

This fantastic campaign, when shared with the members of your business, not only helps everyone stay well, but also advocates the spirit of the holiday. To learn more about how these steps can aid your health, and why they’re the proper way, click this link.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, properly washing your hands can prevent 1 in 5 infections, including the flu. If you don’t have access to soap and water, which of course is considered quite the luxury for some areas of the world, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands. Remember though, to do your research because there are many sanitizers out there that don’t properly remove every germ.

Even though it may sound simple, there are some steps to better your technique when it comes to handwashing. According to the CDC&P you should do the following:

  • Wet make sure it is clean, running water, turn off the faucet then apply antibacterial soap.
  • Lather your hands with the soap, making sure not to miss the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub for 20-30 seconds. (An easy self-timer is humming the “Happy Birthday” twice). Then turn the faucet back on.
  • Rinse thoroughly under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel. (Air drying them works too, just don’t rub them on your clothes!).


Sharon Schweitzer and Hannah Alvarado co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.

Continuing her higher education at Texas State University, Hannah Alvarado is set receive her Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2019. She is a native Texan with a background in writing, sales, social media marketing and customer service. Hannah aspires to perfect her passion and craft of writing and hopes to one day become a novelist. With all the fantastic opportunities offered at Access to Culture, she is excited to be a new member of the team. Connect with her at Hannah Alvarado.