What really happens when you wash your hands?

It’s posted on bathroom walls, it’s the golden rule of basic hygiene, and it’s the command children are met with every time they exit the restroom: “Wash your hands!” 

While the frequency with which you hear this request decreases as you get older, the sentiment remains the same. Hand-washing is a key part of both personal and public health—but are you doing it right? At Aqua, we recognize the role water plays in keeping our customers healthy and happy. Here’s some insight about how to make the most of your hand-washing habits—and what goes on behind the suds. 

When to wash

As a general rule of thumb, you should always wash your hands after using the restroom. It’s equally important to lather up the hand soap after blowing your nose or coughing into your hands, touching animals, playing outside, or visiting a sick friend or loved one.

Washing your hands prevents the germs that accumulate in these settings from spreading to others. While the more obvious source of germs comes from feces-related processes like using the toilet or changing a diaper, germs like Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus can also spread from handling raw meats with invisible amounts of animal waste on them. Yuck, right?

What does hand-washing really do?

Think about how often you’ve touched your face today. Now think about how many publically shared surfaces you’ve also touched today. Washing your hands with soap works by removing germs that cause infections, including infections of the skin and eyes.

Because germs are nearly invisible, it can be hard to see the tangible impact of washing your hands. However, proper hand-washing not only reduces the number of people who catch respiratory illnesses (think: common colds), but it also reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea and gastrointestinal illnesses. If that’s not enough to convince you to wash your hands, unwashed hands can spread bacteria to your face that ultimately results in an accumulation of acne. If not for your gut, do it for your skin!

The steps for soapy success

In order to reduce the risk of illness, stomach problems, and pesky pimples galore, follow these steps to become an expert hand-washer:

  1. Use warm water to wet your hands. 
  2. Lather with soap—the FDA says both antibacterial and regular soap are fine—for 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Work the soap into both sides of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers.
  4. Rinse with water, then dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel. 

Whether you’re teaching the little ones or incorporating these practices into your own routine, taking an extra minute to wash your hands properly makes for a happier, healthier home, work, or school environment. Hand-washing might not be the most glamorous topic, but believe us—the consequences of not washing your hands are much worse. 

 

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4 Ways to Use Water for Wacky Outdoor Fun

Photo used via Creative Commons from Flickr user Blue Temora

It’s finally starting to feel like summer, and we all know what that means: It’s time for long days and nights spent outside, pool parties, running through sprinklers and everything else that’s fun in the sun.

With summer comes lots of water, and naturally, we want you to use your water, not abuse it. Why not cool off, entertain the kids and water the lawn at the same time? We’ve got four ideas for summer fun that’ll allow you to do just that.

Finding kid-friendly summer activities isn’t too hard, but it can be a little rough on the wallet. These activities use common household items that you probably already have, and if you don’t, you can find them for low costs at any dollar store.

Get ready for some fun!

Sponge Races

What you need:

·       Four medium-sized buckets (six if you want to play three games at a time)

·       Two large car-washing sponges

·       A permanent marker

How it works:

·       Take the permanent marker and draw a line horizontally around the middle of the bucket. Make sure it’s in the same place for each bucket – you don’t want to start any fights!

·       Fill two of the buckets up to the line and place them outside in the grass.

·       Set up the other two buckets about five feet apart for younger children, or eight to 10 feet apart for older kids.

·       Let the races begin! The first person or team to transfer all the water from one bucket to the other using the sponge is the winner.

Pro tip:

·       Add a dash of dish soap to the water to make the races soapy and extra fun.

Mega Bubbles

What you need:

·       6 cups of water

·       1 cup of corn syrup

·       2 cups of dish soap

·       A mixing bowl and spoon

·       2 metal rods or any kind of stick — this can be slim PVC pipe or wooden dowel

·       Cotton string

How it works:

·       Mix the water, corn syrup and dish soap in the bowl until everything is combined and there aren’t any layers on top.

·       Cut one piece of string that is the length of your child’s arm, then cut another that is the length of their wingspan.

·       Tie the ends of the short string to the ends of the long string. 

·       Attach the tied strings to the ends of the metal rods.

·       Holding the rods together, dip the string into the bubble solution.

·       Pull the string out, slowly spread the metal rods apart and then pull through the air to create your giant bubble.

Pro tip:

·       Add a little bit of food coloring to make colorful mega bubbles.

·       Check out this YouTube video to see a more in-depth explanation of how to create the giant bubble wands.

Colorful Ice Spheres 

What you need:

  • Water balloons
  • Non-gel food coloring
  • A sink and a freezer
  • A pair of scissors

How it works:

  • Fill a water balloon with water, using a little bit less than you would for normal water balloon usage.
  • Squirt a couple drops of food coloring into the balloon. Fewer drops will mean a lighter color, while more drops will produce a darker color.
  • Tie the water balloon and give it a little shake.
  • Place all the water balloons in the freezer and let them freeze completely. This can take anywhere from two hours to five hours, depending on the size of the balloons.
  • Once frozen, take balloons out of the freezer and use the scissors to cut off the bottom, then peel off the rest of the balloon.
  • The choice of what to do now is yours, but can we recommend creating a game of outdoor bowling?

Pro tip:

  • If you make a ton of little balloons, you can use them to spruce up your cooler. Mix them in with the rest of your ice so that every time someone grabs a drink, they’ll get a colorful surprise.

Make it Rain                     

What you need:

  • Hot water
  • Ice cubes
  • A glass jar
  • A paper plate or bowl

How to do it:

  • Add about two to three inches of hot water to your glass jar.
  • Put your paper product on top of the glass jar and wait a few minutes.
  • Place a few ice cubes on top of the plate.
  • Watch it start to rain inside your jar!

Pro tip:

  • Place one ice cube outside and one inside and have your child observe the differences in the rain. Ask them how they think the temperature or the setting is changing the weather in your little jar. It’s a perfect way to explain the water cycle.

Even though you’ll be busy having a blast with these fun activities, always remember to use your water wisely. By doing each of these activities on the lawn, the water will be put to good use. Be safe, lather up the sunscreen and stay hydrated for an unforgettable summer!  

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