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How to Properly Wash Your Hands

How to Stay Healthy Throughout Flu Season

When flu season strikes, it’s essential to take extra precautions to keep you and your family healthy. This includes avoiding touching communal surfaces where germs live, such as door handles, but it also means washing your hands — the right way.

Proper Handwashing Techniques

Remember your mother’s advice about always washing your hands after using the bathroom? Many people don’t. A study by Michigan State University estimates that 95% of people wash their hands incorrectly. Even scarier, research shows that 33% of people don’t use soap. While many individuals use hand sanitizer as a replacement, it is not as effective as washing your hands with running water.

One of the top ways to prevent the spread of germs and disease is by washing your hands with hot, soapy water. Here are nine steps from the World Health Organization, encouraging everyone — from kids to teachers to nurses — to follow.

1. Wet Your Hands

First, be sure to take off all jewelry such as rings and bracelets before you begin to wash your hands with warm water, as these cling to our skin and keep germs trapped.

2. Apply Soap

Pull your hands from the stream of water and add about a quarter-sized amount of soap. Adding soap under running hot water will make it run off your hands!

3. Rub Your Palms Together

Create a rich lather between your hands for around 5 seconds. This will add water to the soap to create a foam to use on your hands.

4. Rub Backs of Hands Together

Start with your right hand and massage the back of your left hand. When you’re done, switch sides and repeat.

5. Interlace Fingers

Rub your palms together, and clean the underside of your fingers. Rub your fingers along your knuckles, and be sure to get into all crevices.

6. Scrub Your Thumbs

Close your right hand over your left thumb and wash. Repeat this step on the opposite side as well.

7. Rub Palms With Fingertips

Take your fingers and move them along on your palms. Be sure to switch hands and repeat.

8. Rinse Your Hands Off

Rinse the soap away until your hands are washed clear of suds. Turn the faucet off with a towel — not your newly washed hands!

9. Dry Your Hands

Pro tip: consider drying your hands with a clean towel over a hand dryer. These devices can spread more bacteria. Also, remember not to rub your clean hands on your clothes, as these carry germs as well.

This process may seem long, but it shouldn’t take you longer than a minute — which is worth it to keep you and all of those around you healthy. You should wash your hands:

  • Before and after you eat

  • After you use the restroom

  • When they are visibly dirty

  • Throughout the day after touching public surfaces

If you do fall ill this season and are unsure whether you have an urgent or emergency medical problem, call our standalone emergency room at (214) 494-8222. Our doctor at Advance ER will identify your condition and provide treatment.