Using Proper Handwashing to Prevent Cold and Flu

washing hands

Washing your hands is a basic and effective way to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Still, a surprising number of people get their hands dirty immediately after washing, or worse, don’t wash at all. Be sure to check out this brief guide on the importance of washing your hands from Riverside Community Hospital below!

Proper Handwashing Technique
CDC handwashing recommendations state that a person should wash her hands before and after meals, before and after coming into contact with an individual who is sick, after touching garbage, after using the bathroom, and after touching an animal. For the best results, wash and lather your hands for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice to keep time) and dry them with a clean towel or air dryer.

A Word About Hand Sanitizer
If soap is unavailable, an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can kill most bacteria. However, hand sanitizer may not be as effective when your hands are visibly dirty, and the overuse of alcohol-based sanitizers can dry out the skin and irritate small scratches and cuts.

Keep Those Hands Clean!
You should assume that individuals who did not wash their hands have touched a doorknob before you, so touching that doorknob after washing your hands will only get them dirty again. Once bacteria are on your hand, they only require brief contact with your eyes, mouth, or nose to spread. The same goes for other commonly touched surfaces, such as paper towel dispensers and shopping carts.

As a leading hospital in the area, Riverside Community Hospital is committed to providing families with the information and resources they need to enjoy a happy, healthy, and safe holiday. Take advantage of our free iTriage Symptom Checker app to receive up-to-date information on a wide range of conditions, or call us at (951) 788-3000 to speak with a knowledgeable representative.

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