People Newspaper Columnist – and Nurse – Gives Handwashing Lesson

People Newspapers readers may recognize Christy Rost as one of our food columnists, the one that makes your mouth water with a new recipe every month, along with a beautiful story to go with it.

But what you may not know is that Rost is also a registered nurse, with a bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin, plus post-graduate studies in epidemiology at Texas Women’s University in Houston. She is also in her second year on the advisory council to the UT School of Nursing, and her first job after graduating college was as an infection control nurse.

“In network daily news updates, respected health professionals list handwashing as our first defense in preventing the spread of coronavirus,” Rost said, adding that few of these reports show the proper handwashing technique, which experts say is the frontline of defense against the coronavirus spreading.

Since she’s been a health professional, Rost stepped away from her stove for a moment and headed for the sink to share proper handwashing technique, and she filmed it.

“Health professionals agree: Handwashing is our best defense in preventing the spread of colds, flu, bacterial infections, norovirus, and the coronavirus from surfaces where germs and viruses live,” she said.

Four Ingredients to Good Handwashing:

  1. WATER – running water at a comfortable temperature
  2. SOAP – a pump dispenser is best
  3. TIME – it takes 20 seconds to remove bacteria and viruses from the hands (the same amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday)
  4. PAPER TOWELS – cloth towels can harbor germs when reused. After washing hands, use the paper towel to turn off the faucet so as not to re-contaminate hands

Rost recommends:

  • washing hands for 20 seconds immediately upon entering the house after being out and about
  • washing hands after going to the bathroom, before preparing food, and before meals
  • *teaching young children how and when to wash hands
  • use hand sanitizer when dining out – after handling the menu or condiment containers, and after handling common serving utensils at restaurant buffets

Watch Rost below to perfect your handwashing technique.

Handwashing from Chris Mack on Vimeo.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at

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