By - July 1, 2015

Wash your way to better health

Soapy hands

If you could reduce respiratory illnesses like colds in the general population by 21 percent, how would you do it? It’s simple — just wash your hands.

Although it’s summer, there are still plenty of germs floating around. Don’t rely on hand sanitizer — washing your hands with soap and warm water is the best way to reduce bacteria. You should wash your hands

  • before handling food and using clean equipment or serving utensils
  • after coughing, sneezing, smoking, eating, drinking, blowing your nose and using the restroom
  • after your hands have become contaminated or dirty
  • after handling dirty dishes, equipment and utensils, and
  • when changing tasks and switching between handling raw foods and working with ready-to-eat foods.

Clean hands = happy hands

“Keeping our hands clean is one of the best things we can do to keep from getting sick and avoid spreading germs to others,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maximize your handwashing. Make sure you use warm water. Add soap, and as you wash, sing the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself two times. Pay special attention to your fingertips and nails. After rinsing your hands with clean water, dry them with a paper towel.