Hand Washing 101: Your Guide to Beat the Sickness

Cold and Flu season is quickly approaching, and the last thing anyone wants to to get sick. We do everything we can to avoid it, except washing our hands properly. 97% of people do not wash their hands properly. That means 97% of people are spreading their gross germs with absolutely everything they touch.

Maybe we can’t fix how other people wash their hands, but we can change how we wash our hands and prevent how many germs we spread. We often rely on hand sanitizer to get our hands clean when soap and water is convenient. While great in a pinch, hand sanitizer isn’t great at getting everything off your hands, especially if you don’t use enough or wipe it off before it has dried. Soap and water is always best for removing germs.

When not using hand sanitizer, and using soap/water to wash our hands, there are several things to keep in mind:

First, make sure that you are washing your hands long enough. You should scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. The CDC recommends singing the happy birthday song twice. This makes sure that the soap has time to kill off all the nasty germs and get into all the little places that germs like to hide.

Next is making sure we get those little nooks and crannies of our hands. Our knuckles, space between our fingers, under our fingernails and jewelry are all places that germs like to hide and will not get cleaned unless we really work at it. We don’t want that stomach bug hiding in between our fingers just waiting to pounce.

One thing we can throw out the window though, is the idea that antibacterial soap is better than other soaps. There is no real difference between antibacterial soap and traditional soap. As long as you are using some sort of soap and lathering for the full 20 seconds then the germs are being removed. Same thing goes for hot water. While sure, hot water does help kill off germs, any soap and water will work. Cold water is just as effective as hot water when soap is used.

Of course, we always recommend getting a flu shot. A flu shot is the best way to minimize your chances of getting the flu. But hand washing is great way to ensure that the flu, and many other sicknesses stop spreading. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and really scrub. You’ll be surprised how much that can help in this upcoming flu season.

Schedule an appointment for your flu shot today! Most insurance companies cover the cost of the flu shot. For those without coverage, flu shots are available in the adult department for $20.

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