Are We Washing Our Hands Properly?
Proper handwashing is a critical part of preventing the spread of germs and keeping ourselves healthy. Unfortunately, many of us are not washing our hands correctly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Handwashing is a critically important prevention measure to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.” In a recent nationwide survey, only 69 percent of Americans reported washing their hands after using a public restroom, and only 31 percent reported washing their hands after sneezing or coughing.
So what do you need to know to ensure you’re washing your hands properly? The CDC recommends that you wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), apply soap, lather and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds, rinse your hands with running water, and then dry your hands with a clean towel.
When it comes to handwashing, it’s important to do more than just “a quick rinse”. Lathering with soap for at least 20 seconds is essential for removing dirt, oil, and germs from your hands. To ensure you’re washing for the full 20 seconds, try this simple trick: hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing your hands.
When washing your hands, it’s also important to use soap. Soap helps to further break down and remove germs, oil, and dirt from your hands. Antibacterial soaps are not necessarily more effective at killing germs than regular soap, but they can be used if you prefer to use them.
In addition to washing your hands, you should also dry them properly with a clean towel. While paper towels are a convenient option, they are not the most effective at drying hands. For best results, you should use a clean cloth towel that can be laundered after each use.
Finally, it’s important to wash your hands at the right times. The CDC recommends washing your hands:
• After using the restroom
• After sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
• Before and after preparing food
• Before eating
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick
• Before and after treating a cut or wound
• After touching a pet, animal, or animal waste
• After handling garbage or touching items that may be contaminated
By following these simple guidelines, you can help to keep yourself and others healthy by properly washing your hands.