We all learn how to wash our hands when we‚re as young as two or three years old‚Ä¶ however, it‚s been found that only 5% of people wash their hands long enough to kill germs after they go to the bathroom, and only two in three people use soap. Yuck!
Hand washing is one of the most effective and easiest ways to prevent getting sick and spreading germs. In fact, a study showed that when hands are washed correctly, there was a 30% reduction in air-borne illnesses. If hand washing can be so significant, yet it‚s so simple, what are the steps that people are missing?
How to Wash Your Hands
According to the CDC, you should follow these five steps every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the ‚ÄúHappy Birthday‚Äù song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
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When to Wash Your Hands
Be sure to wash your hands during these key times when likely to spread germs (according to the CDC):
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
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Using Hand Sanitizer
Although hand sanitizers do not kill all germs, it‚s a good option when soap and water is not available to you.
- It‚s best to use a hand sanitizer containing 60% of alcohol.
- Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals.
- Hand sanitizer may not be as effective if hands are visibly greasy and dirty.
- You can also purchase a mini hand sanitizer to use when you‚re traveling.