A little soap and water

Give yourself a hand-washing, that is. National Handwashing Awareness Week is Dec. 3-9, and advocate Henry the Hand (www.henrythehand.com) wants you to spread the word, not germs. Soaped and rinsed for your sanitation, it's handwashing for the holiday season, by the numbers:

1 Rank of handwashing as the simplest and most effective measure to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including the common cold.

Amount of conclusive evidence to support the widely held belief that vitamin C can prevent colds. (However, some studies did find evidence that vitamin C may shorten the length of time you suffer from a cold.)

1,000,000,000 Number of colds suffered by individuals in the United States in a year.

22,000,000 Number of school days lost annually to the common cold.

50 Percent of middle and high school students who say they wash their hands. Of these, only...

...33 Percent of females and 8 percent of males used soap while washing.

1 Rank of the drinking water fountain as the most bacteria-contaminated surface in an elementary school. The toilet seat ranked eighth, below cafeteria trays, faucet handles and the classroom computer keyboard.

20 Number of seconds you should spend scrubbing your hands with soap under warm water when washing up.

99.9 Percent of the most common germs alcohol-based hand sanitizers can kill within seconds. But use soap and water when you can.

58 Number of years families have enjoyed the classic board game Cootie.

2 Number of circles and dots needed to dispense a cootie shot. And two squares, if you want the immunization everywhere.

Teresa Dankowski

Chicago Parent Special Needs Playdate

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