View Full Version : Are you washing your hands properly?

08-08-2010, 11:03 AM
Most people will agree that washing your hands and keeping them clean is one of the best ways of preventing yourself from getting sick. Properly washing your hands can protect you from such things as the cold, flu, diarrhea, hepatitis A, and even SARS. Unfortunately, many people don't know how to wash their hands properly. We've all seen that co-worker or friend turn on the faucet, put their hands under the water for a couple of seconds to wet them and quickly close the faucet with their hands. This is not proper hand washing, and in fact, there are studies that show that if you don't wash your hands properly, it can be just as bad or even worse than not washing your hands at all.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ( instructs people to wash their hands in the following way:

Wet your hands and apply liquid, bar, or powder soap.
Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
Continue for 20 seconds! It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge and remove stubborn germs. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" all the way through twice!
Rinse hands well under running water.
Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.

The CDC also says that "if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based wipe or hand gel!" A common myth is that the only way to get all the germs out of your hands is to use an antibacterial soap. Actually, if you follow what the CDC recommends above, antibacterial soap isn't necessary. Antibacterial soaps actually do kill bacteria, but these soaps may contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
Remember to wash your hands:

Before you eat or drink
Before and after touching food
Before and after caring for or touching a sick person
After going to the bathroom
After contact with bodily fluids or blood
After changing a diaper
After touching an animal, especially a reptile since many carry bacteria on their skins.
After using public transportation
After anytime touching anything that looks dirty.

08-08-2010, 09:36 PM
not if you turn the sink on, wash your hands and then turn the sink off.