With flu season still in effect and the novel coronavirus looming—experts point to hand washing as one of the best tactics to avoid becoming sick or spreading illness. However, if you don’t know when to wash your hands or how best to wash them, your efforts may be ineffective.
Keep reading to learn how to wash your hands the correct way. Brushing up on these five simple hand washing steps can help you protect yourself and others from harmful germs.
1. Wet Your Hands
Remove any jewelry such as bracelets or rings. While removing your watch is best practice, if keeping it on encourages more frequent handwashing, leave it be.
We understand that hand washing seems like something we all learned as young children. However, some researchers suggest that more than a million lives could be saved by proper handwashing technique.
So, the first step is to wet your hands, and turn off the tap. Might as well conserve water while you’re at it. Then, grab some soap and lather up.
2. Vigorously Wash Your Hands
Work the soap into a lather that covers both sides of your hands and make sure to address your fingernails. There’s no real need to extend the soap coverage too far beyond your hands.
Lathering your hands with soap helps lift and trap germs in the suds. Now, as we move on to step three, clear your throat because you’re going to need those vocal cords.
3. Wash for at Least Twenty Seconds
Continue to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds. Rather than setting a timer or counting, you can hum a familiar tune. Happy Birthday, the ABCs, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star all work.
Hum the song twice. Pay careful attention to getting between your fingers, under your fingernails, and both sides of your hands.
4. Rinse Your Hands With Clean Water
Turn on the tap again and rinse your hands in clean running water. This step whisks germs away.
Once again, pay attention to the areas between your fingers, your fingernails, and both sides of your hands.
5. Finish by Drying Your Hands
Dry your hands with an air dryer or cloth/paper towels. Bacteria prefer wet hands, so do us all a favor and dry them.
While research may have isolated the very best way to dry your hands, use what is available to you.
How to Wash Your Hands: Proper Technique
During flu season, people should take care to wash their hands, as this is a proven way to reduce the risk of contracting nearly any illness.
Wash your hands before eating, touching your face, and after using the bathroom or touching your pet.
And if you’re wondering how much alcohol should be in hand sanitizer for it to be effective? A good one has at least 60% isopropyl alcohol. Use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands.
Hand Washing and the Coronavirus
While the threat of the coronavirus grips us as a nation, the CDC advises us to keep calm and wash our hands. The risk of contracting the novel coronavirus remains low in the DC area.
However, the risk of the flu remains present. Make sure your vaccines are up-to-date and continue to wash your hands and cough into your elbows to help prevent the spread of any cold or flu.
For more information on vaccination or primary health care, contact Dr. Rashbaum’s office for an appointment at (202) 822-6311.