Multiple times a day, every day, for most of your life you performed the act of washing your hands. And if you are like 95% of Americans, you’ve been doing it wrong. According to Michigan State University, only 5% of people actually wash their hands correctly. During cold and flu season this is nothing to make light of.
The average person touches their face anywhere from fifteen to twenty-three times per hour. And, on average, only washes their hands about 10 times per day. This leaves hundreds of opportunities daily to transfer bacteria and viruses from work surfaces, home surfaces, and the people in our lives directly to our nose and mouth.
So before you find yourself taking sick days from work or spreading germs to your loved one during the holidays, here are some top tips for how to limit germ exposure – and most importantly, the right way to wash your hands.
STEP 1: Thoroughly wet your hands with clean, running water. Then turn off the tap and apply soap.
STEP 2: Lather all parts of your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Don't miss any spots. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
STEP 3: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Darting in and out doesn’t cut it. Need a timer to know how long 20 seconds is? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
STEP 4: Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
STEP 5: Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Paper towels are recommended because of the act of wiping away germs.
These five steps may seem simple enough, but 95% of people don’t thoroughly cover their hands in soap and don’t wash long enough to effectively kill germs. It’s important to wash all of your hands and spend at least 20 seconds on the task. But in addition, here are a few more tips and tricks for staying healthy.
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