Hand-washing seems perfectly logical to most people after they've done it for a while but, apparently, not everybody gets the message.
That's why California's Solano County plans to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the health benefits to regular hand-washers and those around them.
The campaign, which is primarily aimed at people who work with food, coincides with National Food Safety Month (September) and International Clean Hands Week, which begins Sept. 15.
But developing regular hand-washing habits benefits everyone, county health officials said this week.
“Hand-washing is important for food safety, disease prevention and personal health,” Senior Environmental Health Specialist Joyce Benefield said.
In fact, regular hand-washing is probably the single most effective way of limiting the exposure to and spread of disease, officials of the county's Department of Resource Management said.
“Reducing food-borne illness by just 1 percent would keep about 500,000 Americans from getting sick each year.”
There are more than 2,000 restaurants and other food facilities in Solano County.
County inspectors plan to visit hundreds of facilities this month to observe their hand-washing routines, Benefield said.
Businesses that do an outstanding job of demonstrating and reminding workers will receive county certificates, she said.
“Solano County has a proactive environmental health program and food facilities concerned about providing good, safe food to their customers," Benefield said.
"This campaign reinforces the importance of keeping up the good hand-washing habits,” Benefield said.
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta estimates that 48 million Americans -- one out of six -- get sick each year because of inadequate hand-washing, officials said.
People should wash their hands before, during and after preparing food; before eating; before and after caring for a sick person; before and after treating a cut; after nose-blowing, coughing or sneezing; after handling garbage; after touching animals or pet food; and after using the toilet.