The germy truth

Southwest Life

The germy truth

Art of hand washing remains elusive for most
Proper hand washing takes at least 20 seconds and should include scrubbing between fingers and under nails. In a recent study, only 5 percent of people washed their hands enough to kill infection, and illness-causing germs after using the bathroom. In 2009, Minneapolis Public Schools installed 3,500 new soap dispensers to encourage hand washing.
Hand-washing tips

Always use soap: A quick rinse with just water won’t get rid of all the harmful germs that could make you sick. Bathrooms, especially door handles, are crawling with germs.
Know where your hands have been: Germs are impossible to avoid, even in some of the cleanest places. Know what you have touched, and be aware of where your hands are about to go. For instance, if you’re at the supermarket and touching a germy cart, don’t grab a grape for a taste because you will transfer the germs from that cart to your mouth.
Make it a routine to stay clean: Just as you brush your teeth before bed, get in the habit of washing your hands at certain times — before eating, after using the bathroom and when getting home from work or school.
Start young: The importance of good hygiene is best taught when people are young. That way, keeping hands clean will become a habit as they get older. Make it a point to implement hand washing, and keep a chart or awards system if necessary.
Disinfect your technology: A couple of times a week, take a disinfectant cloth and wipe down your phones, computer, mouse and even the remote to your TV.
Keep hygiene fun for children: As anything else, hand washing has to be fun if you want your kids to pay attention. A fun trick to measure how long your kids should be scrubbing is singing the Happy Birthday song twice.
Know how to wash your hands: It’s surprising, but a lot of people don’t know the proper method to wash hands. Here’s how to wash your hands according to the CDC: Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. Continue scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse your hands well under running water. Finish up by drying your hands with a clean towel or by air-drying them.
Source: Karen Francois, a physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell.

The germy truth

Proper hand washing takes at least 20 seconds and should include scrubbing between fingers and under nails. In a recent study, only 5 percent of people washed their hands enough to kill infection, and illness-causing germs after using the bathroom. In 2009, Minneapolis Public Schools installed 3,500 new soap dispensers to encourage hand washing.
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