National Consumers League

Meet Henry the Hand


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Are you ready for this year's National Handwashing Awareness Week? It starts today, and what better time of year than the start of cold and flu season to remind our loved ones how important good hand hygiene is. Henry the Hand, Champion Handwasher, is the brainchild of Dr. Will Sawyer, "Dr. Will," a physician who has committed nearly the last two decades of his career promoting the "Four Principles of Hand Awareness" as a method to protect the public from infectious disease and the potential outbreaks. Dr. Will created Henry the Hand to join him in his crusade to educate children and their families about just how much disease can be prevented with clean hands. Dr. Will's Four Principles:

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating
  2. Do not cough into your hands
  3. Do not sneeze into your hands
  4. Above all, do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth
Dr. Will is in good company. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are spreading the word about maintaining good hand hygiene as well. With old-fashioned soap and water:
  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces
  • Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through to a friend
  • Rinse hands well under running water
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet
  • Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty
With an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
  • Apply product to the palm of one hand
  • Rub hands together
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry