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Hollis Helps With Hand-Washing

Hollis's Story

Hollis and his little brother hold out their clean hands.
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Hi, I'm Hollis. Here I am with my little brother, Kal.

I'm a clean hands helper. That means I know all about how to be a good handwasher and why it's important. And I can help teach other people how to do a good job keeping their hands clean too.

I'm teaching Kal about it first.

Hollis tells Kal about good times to wash your hands.
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I tell Kal that being a good handwasher helps fight germs.

"Germs are everywhere," I say. "You can't see them just by looking. And germs can make people sick. But when you do a good job washing your hands, you get rid of the germs that are hiding there!" Then I tell Kal about when I always make sure to wash my hands.

I wash my hands anytime they look dirty. And before I eat. I also wash them after I go to the bathroom or blow my nose. Or if I cough or sneeze. If somebody close to me coughs or sneezes, I make sure to wash my hands then too.

Kal wipes his hands on a dish towel and then shows them to Hollis.
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Sometimes, you might think your hands are clean because they don't look dirty. But that's not always true.

Look at Kal. He just came in from playing outside. He must have had a lot of fun, because that guy's a mess!

Kal wiped his hands on the kitchen towel, so he thinks they're clean now.

Hollis shows Kal the germs that are still on his hands.
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But Kal didn't use soap and water to wash up!

So even though his hands don't look too dirty, there are still some creepy little germs hanging on.

Hands scrubbing together to clean all their parts.
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So I show Kal how to bust those germs by being a good handwasher. Here's what you do.

Get your hands wet with clean water. Then put soap on them and scrub. Scrub the fronts and the backs, and under your fingernails. Keep on scrubbing for 20 seconds. That's about as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.

Hollis and Kal sing and scrub their hands.
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To keep Kal scrubbing long enough, we sing together. But I like to change the words of the "Happy Birthday" song to be about germ-fighting.

We sing:

Scrub the fronts of your hands.

Scrub the backs of your hands.

Scrub all your little fingers.

And wash the germs down the drain.

While we sing, we have a contest to see who can make the most bubbles.

Kal rinses his hands, and Hollis uses a towel to turn off the water.
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When you're done, rinse your hands. Then dry them with a clean towel.

If you can use a towel to turn off the faucet, that's a good idea. That way, any germs on the faucet can't jump back onto your clean hands.

Hollis and Kal high-five with clean hands.
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That's it!

Being a good handwasher isn't too hard. And now that you know how to do it, you can help teach other people too!

Now that you know how to be a clean hands helper like Hollis, who will you help first? What do you remember about when you should wash your hands? Is there a song you want to sing to make sure you scrub long enough?

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.