Clean Bill of Health: The Importance of Hand Hygiene

You know that washing your hands is important, but do you know why? And more importantly, are you doing it right? We’re sharing the truth behind these questions and more, so read on and wash up!

Why You Should Wash Your Hands

You have the list of when to wash your hands stuck in your head—before eating, after going to the bathroom, before cooking, after sneezing, etc. Washing your hands gets rid of a variety of germs.

“Those microbes you’re sending down the drain can lead to food poisoning, the flu, skin and eye infections, diarrhea, and more if not washed away,” says Graciela Villadoniga, MD, pediatrician at St. Joseph Health Pediatrics in Bryan.

Getting a good lather each time you head to the sink can also help prevent the spread of disease to others (talk about a win-win)! To get the full benefits, it’s always better to wash your hands with soap and water rather than using hand sanitizer, when available.

The Proper Way To Wash Your Troubles Away

The benefits of washing your hands are all well and good, but you won’t experience them if you aren’t scrubbing up properly. You may be thinking, I’ve been washing my hands for years; I don’t need a lesson. However, the Center for Disease Control has a specific procedure, and following it to the tee will help you get rid of the maximum amount of germs. Check it out:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water. Choose whatever temperature is most comfortable for you, as cold water removes just as many microbes as hot water.

  2. Grab some soap and lather for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to wash your fingertips, between your fingers, and under your nails.

  3. Wash the suds off with clean, running water.

  4. Dry with a clean towel or air dry. Microbes are more likely to stick to wet hands, so don’t forget this essential step!

Washing your hands is a quick and easy way to keep disease at bay. For more tips and tricks on staying healthy, schedule an appointment with your St. Joseph Health primary care physician.


CDC | Show Me the Science - Why Wash Your Hands?
CDC | Show Me the Science - How to Wash Your Hands

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