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Coming up: National Handwashing Awareness Week

The Centers for Disease Control is reminding all of us about National Handwashing Awareness Week, starting Sunday.

Not to be too OCD about it, but washing hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent illness. Experts advise singing "Happy Birthday" when you wash so that you get a full 20 seconds in.

When I wash the hands of the little ones in my extended family, I instead adapt the song "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" from the musical South Pacific.

Here are my lyrics: "Im gonna wash those germs right out of my hands and send them down the sink."

From the CDC:

How to wash hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

When to wash hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal food or waste
  • After touching garbage

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.