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Are you a handwashing hero?

Friday 27 March 2020 in News from the Cancer Centre

Handwashing heroes come in all shapes and sizes but they have one thing in common - a technique that would dazzle judges if it were an Olympic event. Even very young children can be handwashing heroes, and the following tips will help all members of your family have hand hygiene to be proud of.

A new handwashing chart created by popular author and artist Angus Olsen has been adapted from World Health Organization advice and is perfect for showing young children how to wash their hands. It provides simple step-by-step pictures, that are easy to follow and understand, and is available on his I Draw Childhood Cancer Facebook page. With this beautifully illustrated chart, and a favourite song to sing for 20 seconds such as the ABCs or Happy Birthday to help time their prowess, a young child can be a handwashing hero.

I must wash my hands by Angus Olsen

Older children can discover the protective powers of soap and water in a recent Behind the News (BtN) episode called ‘Handwashing’ aimed at 8 to 13-year olds. This fun 4-minute long video, created by the ABC and based on current events, gives a professional handwashing lesson and shows how easy it can be to transfer germs to your face, without realising, if you don’t wash your hands properly. You can watch this episode here.

Are your hands really clean? Find out in BtN's 'Handwashing'

In a final nod to hygiene, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, surprisingly, is home to a piece of hygiene history in the form of a note from Florence Nightingale. Although the yellowing, fragile note is a short piece of correspondence from 1863, to do with lost paperwork, and was donated to the Hospital in 1934, it is a reminder of her enduring impact on health care that this small memento is held in such esteem. Her enlightened promotion of good sanitation and hygiene as a nurse, statistician and reformer saved countless lives and she actively encouraged – handwashing!

One of the most powerful ways to protect yourself, and others, from viruses and illnesses is handwashing. These tips and resources will help you and your family have excellent handwashing hygiene and, as Nurse Nightingale wrote in 1860, you “ought to be careful to wash [your] hands very frequently during the day.”


See the Coronavirus Update for the Cancer Centre for Children with our current recommendations.

Have you seen Angus Olsen's books on topics including cancer, NG tubes, central lines and ports for 2 to 5 year olds? Find out more here.


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