WASH YOUR HANDS!
What do hand washing and “Happy Birthday To You” have in common? Well, the time that it takes to sing Happy Birthday (roughly 15 seconds) is about the time it takes to properly wash your hands. This is important to remember as cold and flu season is upon us – regularly and thoroughly washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of viruses and other germs.
But it appears that people still aren’t getting the message. For example, a recent UK-wide study found that of 390 bacterial samples taken from cell phone users 16% of the cell phones and 16% of the hands were carrying e. coli, a bacteria that comes from feces. E. coli can cause stomach problems and food poisoning, and the presence of e. coli on people’s hands (and by extension their phones) suggests inadequate hand washing after using the toilet.
Given these alarming stats, you’ll forgive me for this quick refresher on how to wash your hands properly:
Follow these five simple steps to keeping hands clean :
- Wet your hands with warm running water.
- Add soap, and then rub your hands together, making a soapy lather. Do this away from the running water for at least 15 seconds, being careful not to wash the lather away. Wash the front and back of your hands, as well as between your fingers and under your nails.
- Rinse your hands well under warm running water.
- Pat hands dry with a paper towel.
- Turn off water using same paper towel and dispose in a proper receptacle.
(courtesy – The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care)
For some more tips on how to protect yourself from the flu this season, see: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm