Hand Washing

One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy and help stop the spread of infection is wash your hands. 

That said, most folks don’t really know HOW to wash their hands – here’s a step-by-step guide.  It doesn’t take any longer than the way you’re doing it now, it just gets you better results.  Also, for LA residents, what with the drought and all, some modifications can be made as long as you really scrub your hands and rinse them thoroughly

  1. Wet hands with warm running water
  2. Apply soap
  3. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds, including between your fingers and under fingernails (if you’re at home have a nail brush handy, if not do the best you can)
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly under warm running water
  5. Dry hands, dispose of towel

When should you wash your hands?

  1. Before preparing food, eating or drinking
  2. Before and after touching your body (including rubbing your eyes, scratching that mosquito bite or blowing your nose)
  3. Before and after changing bandages
  4. After using the restroom (before too if your job or hobbies get your hands dodgy)
  5. If you don’t wear rubber gloves while doing them, after you do your household chores, especially cleaning the bathroom, changing the bedding and doing laundry
  6. After coughing or sneezing

What about hand sanitizers?  Yes, good idea to have around as long as they’re a high quality, alcohol based product.  Personally, since I’m using them all day, I prefer EO brand with their organic alcohol and jojoba.  But any quality product will do the trick.

Wash with hand sanitizers the same way you do with soap and water.  Put enough in your hands that you can coat all surfaces of your hands with product, then rub your hands briskly for 20 seconds, including between the fingers and under nails.  If you end up with too much, wipe your hands with a clean paper towel.

So what’s all the fuss about?  The fuss is that most people have no idea how long 20 seconds is, and most germs are pretty tough.  The friction and the soap or hand sanitizer are used to break the cell wall of the germ.  It’s not enough for your hands to look clean, you need them to really BE clean or you won’t be protecting yourself.

Be your own best advocate.  Anytime you go to a health professional or body care professional make sure the people working on you wash their hands before they touch you.  And, of course, if someone is giving you a manicure or pedicure, make sure they’re using clean instruments.

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