THE BEST WAY TO AVOID GETTING SICK IS TO WASH YOUR HANDS
— But You’re Probably Doing It Wrong (excerpted from LifeStrong.com)
Proper hand-washing is an art, and you may be making some common mistakes that are putting you at higher risk of getting sick. From sudsing to drying, there is a science-backed, best way to cleanse.
Learn how to wash your hands properly — the next time you’re face-to-face with the bathroom sink, avoid these five common mistakes.
1. You Skip the Soap – For most people, this seems like a no-brainer. But skipping the soap is a common mistake, says Philip Tierno, PhD, clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Health. If you’re passing up the suds, you may want to re-think your choice. Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Washing with water alone will reduce bacteria to 23 percent, according to a January 2011 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. But using soap will reduce the total bacteria to about 8 percent, researchers found. So, skipping this extra step does make a difference.
2. You Don’t Scrub Long Enough – Most people also fail to spend enough time at the sink, Tierno says. Technically, you should lather your hands for at least 20 seconds, according to the CDC. For reference, that’s about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice through.
3. You Don’t Lather Your Entire Hand — Nails Included. When you wash your hands, surface area matters. And although you mostly use your fingers to grab objects or type on your computer, it’s important to also get the soap on the backs of your hands and between your fingers, according to the CDC.
Don’t forget to thoroughly clean under your fingernails, too, where a lot of germs can be lurking, Tierno says. The best way to do so is by scraping your soapy palm.
And don’t stop at the bottom of your palm. You’ll want to wash about an inch up toward your wrist to make sure you’re eliminating as much bacteria as possible.
4. You Re-Contaminate Right After Washing – Most public bathrooms have automatic sinks these days. But if the sink you’re using shuts manually, don’t turn it off immediately after washing, Tierno says. By touching the sink with your freshly washed hand, you expose your skin to the same germs present before you washed them.
The same goes for the paper towel dispenser. If the dispenser isn’t automatic, you’ll want to dispense the paper towel prior to washing. Then, after you dry, turn off the water and open the bathroom door handle using the paper towel, not your squeaky clean hand.
5. You Rely Too Much on Hand Sanitizer – Hand sanitizer is convenient, and an alcohol-based sanitizer is a decent on-the-go alternative to hand-washing. But it isn’t a replacement for washing your hands, according to the CDC. Hand sanitizers don’t get rid of all types of germs and may not be as effective if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
There’s a proper sanitizing protocol, too. Apply at least a quarter-sized dollop of sanitizer and rub it on your hands for at least 20 seconds, Tierno recommends. As with hand-washing, make sure to get the product between your fingers, under your nails and up your wrist.
Don’t rub any of the excess sanitizer off onto your clothes if it doesn’t dissolve right away. Either keep going up your arm or just keep rubbing your hands until they’re dry.
Look for a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol (this will be listed as the active ingredient on the back of the bottle, typically in the form of “ethyl alcohol”). Brands that typically include this amount are Germ-X and Purell.
WHEN TO WASH YOUR HANDS
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after preparing food
- Before you eat
- Before and after you come in contact with someone who is sick
- Before and after diaper changes
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
- After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
- After touching garbage
- After touching shared surfaces, such as in the gym or on a train
“The whole idea is to cut down on the number of [germs] you introduce from your hands to your mouth, eyes or nose, which are the conduits of entry into your body,” Tierno says. “That’s how you get sick 80 percent of the time.”
WE ARE TAKING YOUR HEALTH SERIOUSLY
More than ever before, we are trying to keep you healthy. We have sent clients home in the past when we think they might be contagious (couging, sneezing, hoarseness, sore throat, etc).
With the heightened attention to new viruses, we will be even more diligent. Please do not come to the studio if you are feeling ill. Also, if you have travelled to a location where the Coronavirus is active, do not come into the studio for at least 2 weeks after you arrive home.
We will continue to provide hand sanitizers at the studio, and we will also make rubber gloves available to you upon request (but even with gloves, you must remember to never touch your nose, eyes, mouth).