“My Truth”

Don’t Start Tripping about Washing Your Hands

By Cheryl Smith
Publisher of I Messenger Media
Texas Metro News
Guest Column

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, we received mixed signals. One constant message was, “wash your hands.” Even before the mandate to wear masks, health officials were stressing the importance of washing your hands. The Centers for Disease Control instructed, “To prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol to clean hands.”

I loved that directive because I have always wondered about people who didn’t wash their hands. Go into any restaurant and you’ll find signs instructing employees to wash their hands. The CDC gave explicit instructions: Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Someone has to tell you, an adult, this? What the heck? Weren’t you raised right? Didn’t you learn at an early age to wash your hand when you finished your business? Someone really had to tell you to wash your hands after wiping your behind? Really?

Which brings me to my truth.

Yes, there were times when I didn’t act like I had home training. I did things — things that I definitely didn’t want my parents to find out about. But this washing my hands thing? Basic hygiene practices? Nah, didn’t roll like that. No one has ever had to tell me to wash my hands but I sure as heck have had to tell people to wash their hands especially before coming into my kitchen.

Actually, to avoid cussing someone out, I made it a point of having an ice maker on the door of my refrigerator because then when someone came into my kitchen and wanted water, they never had to open the refrigerator door and I didn’t have to treat them like a child.

So as we seemingly make our way to the other side of the pandemic, some things we did before we will never do again and other things we never did before will become standard practice in our lives. Now if the CDC says you will no longer have to wash your hands, I’m going to have to call them wrong on all fronts. And sadly, just like how folks have fought the call to wear masks, there are probably some who are being irresponsible and not washing their hands. Just the thought is disgusting! The CDC says, “Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.” Face it, washing your hands doesn’t just help with the spread of Coronavirus. It’s the right thing, the healthy, and the decent thing to do!