The Importance of Washing Your Hand to Protect Your Health

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 11/07 2013 05:43PM

Updated 11/07 2013 11:25PM

With the number of flu cases on the rise, medical experts are reminding of the importance of washing your hands regularly to steer clear of germs.

Karen Watts is the Infection Prevention Officer at Freeman. "So hand hygiene is the single most important thing we can do to  prevent the spread of infection. People should wash their hands after using the restroom, after changing diapers, caring for sick people. You should perform hand hygiene before you prepare food. During preparation of food if you're handling uncooked meats, raw meats, and then vegetables, you want to wash your hands in between those."

But a few seconds of scrubbing isn't enough to keep you healthy. Said Watts, "To properly wash your hands, you want to wet your hands with warm or cold water, then rub the soap into your hands for 20 seconds. If you need a timer for yourself, you can hum the happy birthday song, count to 20. Making sure you're paying attention to your fingernail beds, round your thumbs and in the webs of your fingers. And then rinse your hands and pat them dry."

And if there's no soap and water - there are other options. "You can use a commercially prepared alcohol hand rub. They're readily available in all the drug stores. You just want to make sure that you chose a product that has at least 60% alcohol."

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