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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 09, 2010

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP

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Office of Communications

Washing Hands is a Serious Health Issue
National Hand Washing Week is 12/4/10 – 12/10/10


Everyone has heard the old saying, “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  It’s good advice especially when it comes to washing your hands to keep yourself and those around you healthy.  In observance of National Hand Washing Week, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is reminding everyone to wash their hands to ensure proper hygiene. 


“While hand washing is perhaps the simplest and one of the most effective ways to avoid common illnesses, many times people simply forget to wash their hands or are unaware of how clean of hands help stop the spread of disease,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.  “It is also critical that we as health care professionals incorporate this into our daily practice as we take care of patients.”


According to the CDC:

·         It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.

·         Hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%.

·         The use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in elementary school classrooms reduced infection related absenteeism by 19.8%.


DHSS urges everyone to wash their hands regularly throughout the day and follow the guides listed below to ensure maximum effectiveness:


·         Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.

·         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 paper towel or air dryer.


For more information visit the CDC website: Hand washing saves lives.


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