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How to Wash Your Hands

The correct way to suds up, plus when you should wash ‘em and when you shouldn’t.

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The real secret to preventing sickness and infections? Make sure you keep your hands clean.

This is the single best way to stop the spread of illness-causing germs. You may think that washing your hands is instinctual as blinking, but there is a very correct form and method to reduce the germs.

Washing your hands is more effective than alcohol gel sanitizers, which miss many bad bacteria. In a pinch, alcohol gels are better then nothing, but if you’re near a sink, old-fashioned hand washing is most effective.

QUIZ: How Healthy Do You Feel?

The Right Way to Wash Your Hands:

  • Use very warm running water and soap.
  • Scrub both sides of the hands for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Pay attention to under the fingernails, around the hair follicles on the fingers and on the back of the hands.
  • Rinse well with very warm, running water.
  • Dry hands with a disposable paper towel.

When to Wash Your Hands:

  • Using the toilet.
  • Changing diapers. Wash the hands of the diapered child, too.
  • Helping a child at the toilet.
  • Your hands come into contact with bodily fluid like saliva, vomit, a runny nose, etc.
  • Fixing or eating food (and before).
  • Touching raw meat, poultry fish or eggs.
  • Shaking hands.
  • Coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Though you can change your sneeze habits, so you sneeze in the crook of your elbow.
  • Handling money.
  • Riding public transportation.
  • Any point when you feel your hands might be at risk.

Bottom Line: When in doubt, wash ‘em out!

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