Hand-washing 101

People tend to get sick during the winter, and the best way to prevent that is simple: wash your hands.

The main way colds spread is through sneezing and coughing. Tiny droplets with germs land on surfaces that people often use, like counters, phones and furniture. You might touch the spot with your hands, then throughout the day your mouth or nose might come in contact with them.

Next thing you know, you’re sick.

Get rid of these germs by washing your hands regularly, especially after you use the restroom or before you eat. If you’re the one who’s sick, washing your hands can prevent the spread of the germs to others.

It’s important to remember there’s a correct way to wash your hands:

  • First, wet your hands with water and add soup.
  • Rub them together vigorously for 20 seconds. Make sure to rub the wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails. When you have time, use a nailbrush, as germs often hide under nails.
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly and dry with a clean paper towel or air dryer.
  • If you are in a public restroom, shut the faucet off with a paper towel. Try to push the door open with your shoulder, or use another paper towel to turn the knob.

Other times you should wash your hands include after you get home from work or school, after you sneeze or cough, when you’re handling raw food and whenever you touch trash. If there isn’t a sink handy, using an hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol will work. Be sure to rub the entire surface of your hands.

Remember that not all germs are bad, but washing your hands helps to get rid of the most harmful ones.