5 Steps of Effective Handwashing

11.18.2015

Millions of germs get on your hands every day. While most are harmless, some cause disease ranging from the common cold and flu to acute gastroenteritis, pneumonia, Hepatitis A, salmonella and more. When you neglect to wash your hands, or do not wash them properly, you can spread these harmful germs to others, or infect your own body by touching your eyes, nose, mouth or food. As cold and flu season heats up, keep the following tips in mind to prevent the spread of disease.

The Right Way to Wash Hands

hand_washingProper hand hygiene is still one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs and protect yourself and those around you from illness. Proper handwashing involves these five simple steps.

  1. Wet hands under clean running water, either warm or cold. Turn off the tap and apply soap. Soap lifts away dirt and germs from the skin more effectively than water alone.
  2. Build up a lather by rubbing your hands together with the soap. Be sure to cover the backs of your hands, wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails.
  3. All surfaces of the hands should be scrubbed vigorously for at least 20 seconds – long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Along with soap, the friction created by rubbing hands together is important to loosen and remove germs.
  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
  5. Dry hands with a clean towel, paper towel or air dryer, or air dry them. Avoid touching the faucet, door knobs and other bath surfaces to prevent recontamination.

When soap is not readily available, hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol are an acceptable alternative to handwashing. Remember that your skin is your first and most important defense against infection. Avoid washing your hands too frequently or using harsh cleaners that could cause skin to dry out and crack, allowing germs to enter your body.

Live Healthy with RediClinic

In addition to proper hand hygiene, immunization is another vital step to prevent disease. RediClinic offers a full range of vaccinations to keep you and your family healthy. Whether it’s time for your seasonal flu shot, or your children need routine immunizations, our board-certified healthcare professionals can administer the appropriate vaccines without an appointment. You’ll find a convenient RediClinic medical clinic in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Seattle. Walk in today!