Wash Your Hands, Improve Your Health

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 4:15 PM

Walk into any public restroom and you’re certain to see a sign stating that employees must wash their hands before returning to work. Hopefully you know that this sign applies to more than just employees—you should be washing your hands after going to the bathroom, too!

Not only does washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds help wash away the dirt and grime, it also helps remove germs including viruses and other potentially harmful bacteria.

Becky Miller, MD, Infectious Disease Physician at NorthShore, gives the following tips on the importance of washing your hands:

  • Washing your hands can help decrease your chances of getting sick, especially during cold and flu season.
  • Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice for an easy way to remember how long you should wash your hands.
  • Don’t forget to rub soap and water over all surfaces of your hands – it is the mechanical action of cleaning that helps eliminate most of the germs.
  • If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand rub to kill germs, remembering that it will not be effective for cleaning visibly soiled hands.
  • Remember to wash your hands after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing to help avoid spreading germs to others.

How many times a day do you wash your hands? Do you wash them more frequently when you’re sick?

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