The Importance of Washing Your Hands

October 17, 2016


How to Properly Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands may seem like a menial task, but it can make a huge difference in your overall health. And it’s important to properly wash your hands to reap the full benefits. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 95 percent of people using public restrooms cut corners when it comes to hygiene — the study found that the average hand-washing time was just six seconds. The CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. If no timer is handy, try singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice through while scrubbing your hands with warm water and soap. Be sure to get the backs of your hands, under your fingernails and between your fingers as well.

If no soap and water are available, hand sanitizer may be used as an alternative to killing germs residing on your hands. It’s recommended to use an alcohol-based sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol. While hard sanitizers will do in a pinch, washing with water and soap is the most effective method for stopping germs in their tracks.

Keep Your Family Healthy

Now that flu season is here, it’s important to keep in mind that washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the flu virus, aside from getting your annual flu shot. Especially if you are in public, touching things like doorknobs, shopping cart handles and other commonly used items can bring you into contact with any number of microscopic viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. Remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth before thoroughly washing your hands, as this is one of the easiest ways for flu germs to spread.

It’s also important to wash your hands after using the restroom or changing a diaper because feces can carry germs that lead to sicknesses like Salmonella, E. Coli, the Norovirus and even the Flu. Germs can also be transferred through surface contact, so try to avoid touching the faucet or doorknobs on your way out of the restroom.

Foodborne illnesses can also be prevented by properly washing your hands and cleaning your workspace after handling raw meat. It’s a simple and effective step that can help keep you and your family happy and healthy.

Washing hands regularly are particularly important for families with infants or older members. The elderly and young children are the most susceptible to sicknesses of all kinds. Making hand washing a habit can help keep your family feeling great.

Stop the Spread of Disease

Your hands aren’t the only place that germs can be problematic. Germs can also be transferred via food, drink or everyday surfaces, such as countertops or doorknobs. It’s important to keep these things in mind during your everyday routine. For instance, you can use your elbow to turn on the faucet or open doors when you have dirty hands. Be mindful of what you touch, prepare food carefully and regularly wipe down surfaces and your family will thank you for it!

If you or a family member does need medical assistance, you can visit an AFC Urgent Care location and be confident you’ll receive top-quality care. AFC has pioneered the concept of non-emergency room urgent care and become the nation’s leading provider of urgent care, accessible primary care and occupational medicine. To find a location near you, visit


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