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Taking the time to properly hand wash is one of the easiest ways to prevent getting sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control, preventing sickness reduces the amount of antibiotics people use and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. Hand-washing alone can prevent about 30% of diarrhea-related sicknesses and about 20% of respiratory infections. Unfortunately, most people do not take the necessary time to thoroughly wash their hands. This includes rubbing hands together with soap for at least 30 seconds (or the equivalent to singing “Happy Birthday” twice). Taking the proper amount of time to lather hands will ultimately reduce the number of microbes to ones hands. An additional tip includes taking the time to scrub not just the palms of the hands, but also the backs of hands and underneath fingernails. These areas often get neglected but have the capacity to carry just as much bacteria. Another important suggestion includes thoroughly drying hands after washing because germs are more likely to spread on wet surfaces.
Most common sicknesses could easily be prevented if correct precaution is taken. If you think about the amount of things one touches throughout the day, it is no wonder hand-to-hand contact is one of the easiest ways we pick-up and ultimately spread germs. Keeping this in mind, proper hand-washing should become a priority to everyone this cold and flu season.
Naturally, hand washing is an activity that most physical therapists know not to neglect! Because we interact with so many patients throughout the day, we always want to make sure to be fresh for everyone coming through our doors.
Here’s the guide that we use for our offices: