From your health and wellness experts at Prisma Health
Children, Health
September 28, 2018

Protect yourself and wash your hands the right way

Anna-Kathryn Burch, MD
Palmetto Health Children's Hospital
Hand washing is the number one way to help prevent the spread of germs and diarrhea-related illnesses. As flu season approaches, it is vital that we make a habit of washing our hands frequently throughout the day.

We touch our eyes, nose and mouth with our hands up to 25 times an hour. Even if you cannot see the germs on your hands, they are there. Touching your face frequently with dirty hands can make you sick. Many diseases are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean water. Here are some tips from Anna-Kathryn Burch, MD, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital infectious disease specialist, to help keep you healthy this flu season.

Make sure you:
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after using the restroom
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after coughing or sneezing
  • Limit the amount of times you touch your face
  • Always wash your hands before eating
To successfully wash your hands, you have to use the right technique. Dr. Burch recommends following these five steps:
  1. First, rinse your hands in warm water
  2. Lather your hands with soap
  3. Scrub under your nails, between fingers, and on the back of hands for at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” in your head twice)
  4. Rinse off the soap
  5. Shut off the water with a paper towel so you don’t collect any new germs
Sometimes it is hard find a bathroom when you need to wash your hands. Hand sanitizer is a great alternative and works almost as well as actually washing your hands. Check the ingredient list and make sure to use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol in it. Although it is a great option, keep in mind that hand sanitizer does not effectively kill all the germs that handwashing does.

Remember to wash those hands to help limit the spread of germs!

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