Handwashing: Does the water temperature matter?


Handwashing: Does the water temperature matter?

Many people believe that you need warm or hot water when washing hands, so that you remove more germs. Recently, there have even been some doctors in interviews who have suggested that people should use warmer or hot water when washing their hands to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and other germs. But does the water temperature make a difference when it comes to fighting germs? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it does not.

According to the CDC, it doesn't matter if you wash your hands in cold or warm water.  They report that warmer water is no more effective at removing microbes than cold water is when washing your hands. In fact, their recommendation advocates for cooler water, because they say that warmer water can irritate the skin, and it's more environmentally friendly. The warmer water can strip away your skin's natural oils more, causing irritation and dry skin. 

Not only is there no added benefit to using warmer or hot water to wash your hands, but they also report that there is no benefit to using antimicrobial soap compared to plain soap. Both of these issues, water temperature and antibacterial soap, were backed up by a 2017 study that was published in the Journal of Food Protection, where scientists compared the results of handwashing with antibacterial soap and plain soap. They concluded that antibacterial soap was not more effective than plain soap, and water temperature did not have a significant effect on the reduction of bacteria during hand washing.

What does matter when it comes to handwashing is the time spent washing them. Research shows there is a significant impact when it comes to the length of time you spend washing your hands. The reduction in amount of germs present on the hands comes with washing them for at least 20 seconds. 

There you have it, Volusia County Moms! Children may shy away from handwashing if they are taught they need to use warmer or hot water. The temperature of the water makes no difference, but the time spent lathering the hands does. Get them focused on the right thing so they develop good handwashing  habits that help to protect their health, and the health of those around them. 

Read additional information on this topic here.

- Jacqueline Bodnar

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VCM get healthier challenge


Here we are in the midst of the world fighting a pandemic, and we are all pretty much in our homes for the most part. The way I look at it, you have a choice right now. You can either use this downtime to get healthier or use it to sit around becoming more unhealthy. The things you do over the next month will make a difference in your health. If you make choices that will be beneficial to your health then you will improve your chances emerging from this healthier, fitter, and with some better habits.

I personally try to stay physically active, making sure that I get exercise in 6-7 days per week. I've been a runner for 4.5 years now, running three times per week. I also bike 2-3 times per week. I also meditate daily, which helps my mental health. Additionally, I mostly eat a healthy diet. Don't get me wrong, I do eat some junk food here and there, but I try to mostly make healthy food choices. As I was taking my run this morning I was thinking about this very topic. We can use this month of downtime to take steps toward improving our health even more.

Most people I know who don't exercise or make healthy living choices tend to say they don't have the time or can't stay motivated, etc. Well, this month is the perfect time to turn that around. You do have the time to both exercise and continuously renew your motivation to get healthier.

Although there is a statewide "stay at home order," you can still get outdoors to exercise (page four of the executive order), you just need to be mindful of social distancing while you do it. This means you can get some fresh air and get outside to exercise each day. You can also exercise indoors if you prefer, but by getting outside to do it you will also help with vitamin D production (from the sun exposure), and just being outdoors is good for improving mood and breathing in some fresh air. A change of scenery is good! 

Some things you can do this month to improve your overall health and wellness include:

  • Taking up running
  • Walking daily
  • Playing a sport
  • Going for a bike ride
  • Grabbing some free weights and do weight training
  • Doing yoga
  • Taking up meditation
  • Trying a new type of online exercise class (there are many free online classes right now)
  • Trying some new healthy recipes
  • Eating more produce (just wash it, as always)
  • Reading more books (the library is offering curbside pickup of materials - just place the order online or on the phone ahead of time) - Read my book while you are at it! :)
  • Taking up crocheting or knitting (it's good for the mind)

I challenge Volusia County Mom's readers to use this month to take steps to improve your health and wellness. Yes, you could just sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix shows, downing extra snacks, and watching the scale creep up. But you can also choose to take the next month to get serious about improving you.

Whether this pandemic takes a month or two before we are able to get back to our normal lives, how do you want to emerge from it? I'm focusing on emerging in a better state of overall health, and I challenge you to all do the same. Get your families on board with it, too. 

Each week I'm going to have a thread on the VCM get healthier challenge on Facebook, where I hope you will share what you are doing to get healthier and how it's going. 

Wishing you success in the VCM get healthier challenge!

- Jacqueline

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