With colds, respiratory infections and flu on the rise this season, it's important to learn how to prevent infections - starting with hand washing. While most people understand the importance of handwashing, they may not know the proper techniques for thoroughly washing or sanitizing their hands.
Juan Dumois, M.D., clinical practice director for pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, shows us the best techniques for handwashing and hand-sanitizing:
- Rinse your hands before applying soap — the soap can be either regular or antibacterial.
- Thoroughly wash both sides of both of your hands and in between your fingers.
- Make sure you are washing your hands for at least 30 seconds — a good timing trick is to sing the Happy Birthday song twice.
- Rinse the soap off of your hands — be careful not to turn off the faucet with your newly-cleaned hands; instead, use a paper towel to turn it off.
- Hand sanitizer must be alcohol-based.
- Thoroughly sanitize both sides of both of your hands and in between your fingers.
- Make sure you are using enough hand sanitizer for you to apply the hand sanitizer for 15 seconds before it dries out.
Remember, because we usually get sick from picking up germs from objects that we touch, the most important time to wash or sanitize your hands is before touching your face or before eating or drinking.
Learn more about hand washing techniques from the World Health Organization.