COVID Prevention 101: Could You Be Washing Your Hands Wrong?

COVID Prevention 101: Could You Be Washing Your Hands Wrong?

( – Scientists and health professionals tell us that washing our hands is one of the best ways to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But it turns out that’s only true if you’re washing the right way — and 95% of us aren’t. If you’re not washing your hands properly, you’re not getting the protection you need from this potentially deadly virus. Let’s take a look at what you might be doing wrong and how to correct it.

Here’s How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way, Every Time.

People Are Short-Changing Their Hand-Washing Time

Most people only wash their hands for five or 10 seconds, at the most. Even though we have been washing our hands all of our lives, most of us aren’t well-trained on how to consistently do it the right way. When hands aren’t washed long enough, the cleansing and disinfecting action of the soap doesn’t reach its full potential. That’s not the only problem with hand-washing, either.

Most people don’t do nearly enough of it. They might wash their hands after changing a baby or using the bathroom, but they could forget to do it before they make a sandwich or after they’ve touched surfaces in a public place. Being more conscientious during a pandemic is likely, but forgetting to wash hands enough or properly still happens — mostly because the right technique and frequency aren’t ingrained behaviors.

Even Bad Hand-Washing is Better Than Nothing

Still, if there’s a choice between a fast hand-washing and none at all, always go for the wash. Even if it’s not as good as it “should” be, there are still benefits and it’s definitely better than not washing at all. Just be aware that the chances of contracting an illness are still going to be higher than they would be with proper hand-washing.

Touching surfaces that might have germs and failing to kill those germs with good hand-washing could mean a risk of getting sick. If you can’t wash your hands well, avoid touching your face, eating, or touching others until you can wash your hands more thoroughly. That may help reduce the chances that you’ll get sick or pass an illness along to someone else.

The Better the Hand-Washing, the Lower the Risk of Illness

When hands are washed more thoroughly, the risk of many communicable diseases can be reduced. According to the CDC, nearly 21% of respiratory illnesses (like COVID-19) can be prevented with proper hand-washing. Gastrointestinal illnesses can also be reduced by up to 40%. It’s important to remember that proper hand-washing won’t guarantee good health or eliminate the risk of getting sick, but it can make a difference — and that difference is significant enough to be worth noting.

To Wash Hands Properly, Follow the CDC Guidelines

The CDC takes hand-washing seriously, especially during a global pandemic like COVID-19. The guidelines for proper hand-washing include a step-by-step guide to making sure you’re doing it correctly.

According to the CDC, to wash your hands properly you should:

  • Rinse with clean, running water.
  • Apply soap.
  • Rub hands together to work up a lather.
  • Make sure to get the backs of the hands, under fingernails, and between fingers.
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice).
  • Rinse hands well under clean, running water.
  • Use a clean towel to dry them, or let them air dry.

Remember, any hand-washing is better than nothing, and you can also use hand sanitizer if a place to wash your hands or hand soap just isn’t available. But the more thorough the job, the lower the chances of getting sick. That includes COVID-19, but also things like the flu, the common cold, and diarrheal illnesses, too. Pandemic or not, staying healthy is important, and good hand-washing can be a big part of that.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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