|Posted on 4 March, 2016 at 15:35|
By Dr. Mercola
Hand washing is a simple way to reduce your exposure to potentially disease-causing germs and reduce your chances of getting sick. While not the only factor, it can drastically reduce the germs that get access to your body, especially when you do it at key times, such as before eating or touching your mouth, eyes, and nose, and after using the restroom or visiting public areas. You do NOT need antibacterial soap however, and this has actually been scientifically verified.
Hand washing needs to be done correctly, however, in order to be truly effective for disease control. Simply rinsing your hands with water, or giving a quick scrub with soap, is not enough to remove germs. In one recent study,18 only five percent of people washed their hands in a way that would actually kill infection and illness-causing germs. So, to make sure you're actually removing the germs when you wash your hands, follow these guidelines:
• Use warm, running water and a mild soap (avoid antibacterial soap)
• Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, scrubbing for at least 15 or 20 seconds (most people only wash for about 6 seconds)
• Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails
• Rinse thoroughly under running water
• In public places, use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor
Keep in mind that your skin is your primary barrier against germs, so obsessive-compulsive washing, especially in dry environments that typically exist for most in the winter months when the heat is on, can actually increase your risk of getting sick by drying out your skin. So keep a balance—avoid washing your hands to the point of irritating your skin, as dry, cracked areas are a perfect entryway for germs.