Your Health:The Right Way To Wash Hands
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Between back to school and the start of cold and flu season, your family comes into contact with a lot of germs. But staying healthy is as easy as a trip to the sink.
Washing your hands correctly is one of the easiest and most important ways to stay healthy. Unfortunately most people aren't doing it right, putting themselves and others at risk.
"People touch their nose and their eyes and their face a lot after they may have touched a contaminated surface," NFRMC Infection Control Supervisor Laura Netardus says, "so its just going to prevent most illnesses."
20 seconds might seem like a long time to wash, but that's exactly how long you're supposed to wash if you want to do it right. A study from Michigan State University finds only 5% of people wash their hands well enough to kill germs.
We decided to test out how hard is it to wash your hands the right way... we put my own skills to the test with some of North Florida Regional's Infection Control Specialists. I gave it my best shot... but came up short. Which means every time I think I'm practicing good hygiene... I'm really spreading germs.
Experts say you should be wasing about 10 to 15 times a day, and not just when you use the restroom or prepare foods. "Surfaces can hold bacteria for months," NFRMC Infection Control Specialist Miranda Williams says, "if the bacteria's not cleaned off the surface, we can touch those and transmit them to other people or ourselves.
So what's the best way to wash your hands? Soap and water, washing for at least 20 seconds, and pay extra attention to areas that can trap bacteria like underneath your fingernails. Experts say it's going to pay off in the long run.
If you don't have soap and water, doctors say hand sanitizer can work just as well. Use a dime to a quarter sized amount, and make sure it's at least 60% alcohol.
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