Authored by Revere Health

Why is Handwashing so Important?

January 6, 2020 | Family Medicine

Do you love being sick? Being stuck at home for days on end not knowing when you will ever feel better? If you answered yes, then you can stop reading, because this article isn’t for you. 

Handwashing is one of the most important steps that we can take to avoid getting sick and passing germs to one another. Many diseases are spread simply by not taking the 30 seconds to wash our hands with soap and clean running water. 

It’s a common misconception that not washing your hands isn’t a big deal. In a survey conducted by the Bradley Corporation, it was found that although 92% of Americans believe it is important to wash your hands after you use the restroom, only 66% of respondents say that they always wash their hands after use. In addition, 70% admit to skipping the soap and just rinsing with water. 


What Diseases Can Handwashing Prevent?



Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis (a.k.a intestinal infection or “stomach flu”) in humans, and it can affect people of all ages. They spread very quickly and can hit office spaces, schools or households all at once. 

Airborne Illnesses

Common respiratory illnesses caused by poor hand hygiene include the common cold, influenza, chickenpox and meningitis.

Nosocomial infections

We often hear of infections being transmitted in hospitals as the result of staff and patients not washing their hands. Some of the most common nosocomial (hospital-borne) infections that can be spread by germs and bacteria on our hands include MRSA (a type of staph infection) and E. coli.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that can cause severe symptoms, including problems with the liver, jaundice (a yellow tint of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, fever and fatigue. It’s often spread through food that has been prepared by people who haven’t washed their hands after using the bathroom.


As a parent, how can I get my child in the handwashing habit?


It can be hard to teach your little ones how important hand washing is. We’ve found a few ways that can encourage them to wash, while also teaching them about what germs are and why they don’t want them on their hands.

  • Singing handwashing songs
  • Drawing and coloring activities
  • Building and crafts
  • Telling stories—read books about washing and germs]

Here are a few more things you can do when it’s time to wash with them:

  1. Supervise their handwashing after they use the toilet and before they eat.
  2. Let them see you wash your hands throughout the day and wash your hands with them.
  3. Put handwashing reminders at their eye level.
  4. Every time they wash their hands, reward them until it is a habit. Keep a stool by the sink so that they can reach it easily.
  5. Keeping a good habit of washing your hands after you use the restroom and before you eat will help prevent you from getting sick and save you money on trips to see your doctor.


Enjoy this free printable from the CDC!×11.pdf


Revere Health Orem Family Medicine is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages and providing thorough and timely healthcare for the entire family throughout all stages of life.



“Infections you can spread by not washing your hands”

“Show me the Science – How to Wash Your Hands”

“Show me the Science – Why Wash Your Hands?”

“Global Handwashing Day Focuses on Need for Universal Hand Hygiene”

“For young children – Teaching Handwashing”

The Live Better Team


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.