Do you think you adhere to good hand hygiene? Think that it’s unnecessary to keep reminding yourself to wash your hands or use hand sanitizers? Want to see just how you well you measure up to the Germ Guy’s criteria? Then this is the challenge for you. The best part…it’s simple and it may help to prevent getting sick on this great holiday.

On July 4th, I want you to count how many times you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer over the course of the day. Even more importantly, I’d like you to take note of where and when you rid your hands of dirt, grime and germs. Then, on July 5th, come back here or reply to me on Twitter (@JATetro) using the #handhygiene hashtag and let me know how it went.

For those of you who choose to stay at home, it will reflect your normal everyday hygiene behaviors. For those who decide to venture out to take in all the Independence Day activities and festivities, this will demonstrate just how problematic this normal routine can be.

The challenge should start as soon as you wake up in the morning. After all, the first handwashing should happen just after you get out of bed. Who knows what you’ve been touching and scratching in the night! It’ll end right before you go to bed when the last handwashing should take place (unless you want to get those touched and scratched places even more dirty during your slumber). As for the moments you choose in between, that’s up to you.

To help along with the challenge, I’ll offer up a few tips.

  1. The average person should wash their hands with soap and water between 8 and 12 times a day;
  2. The use of hand sanitizer should be used as a complement to handwashing or when handwashing is not available (Porta Potties anyone?);
  3. If there are no opportunities to dry your hands, hand sanitizer will definitely help;
  4. Visually inspecting your stretched hands for discoloration will offer some idea of the cleanliness – if they’re yellow or dull, you know it’s time to wash;
  5. Don’t listen to people who tell you it’s not necessary – they are not the ones who will have to endure your illness;
  6. Handling money followed by eating with your hands usually do not mix well in your gut!

So, there you have it. It’s the July 4th #handhygiene Challenge and it’ll be a great way to find out if you’re really following good hand hygiene principles and keeping yourself as protected as possible from the germs that we all want to avoid.

Happy Independence Day!

P.S. I am Canadian but I love the American holiday…not to mention I had to work Canada Day.