It isn’t always possible to control our health, but there are things we can do to give our bodies an advantage against illness and disease. Eating nutritious meals, getting plenty of exercise and adequate sleep are all important ways to strengthen our bodies.
There is one habit, however, that takes very little time and effort but is a powerful tool for healthy living. Washing your hands regularly — especially after using the restroom and before and after meals — can prevent the spread of contagious disease.
Is Handwashing Really Effective?
Handwashing is believed to be one of the most important things people of all ages can do to shield their bodies from illness.
In 2018, research found that handwashing with soap reduced the spread of diarrhea by 30%. The American Journal of Infection Control also found that regular practice could decrease gastrointestinal viruses that resulted in missed school days among children. This habit can help prevent the spread of influenza, colds, strep throat and pneumonia.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hands?
Just how often should you be lathering up? Reach for the soap after using the restroom, no exceptions! Before and after meals or anytime you’ll be handling food you’ll need to wash up, too.
For parents or caregivers, it’s important to practice this habit after changing a diaper or helping someone use the restroom. Outdoor activities or playing with a pet should also be followed up with a visit to the sink.
How Should You Wash Your Hands?
This habit may feel like second nature, but it’s best not to assume we’ve got it down pat. To effectively banish germs the CDC recommends, washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds — about the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. During this time, pay attention to the spaces between your fingers, under your fingernails and the tops of your hands, which often get missed.
When it’s time to wrap up, reach for a towel to turn off the faucet and open the doorknob. This extra effort can help prevent reintroducing germs onto your hands.
What If There’s No Water?
While soap and running water are optimal, sometimes they’re just not available. In this case, an antibacterial rinse-free product is your next best bet. Be sure to read the instructions as germ-killing could require a specific procedure or amount of time when using these products.
This simple habit takes a matter of seconds. It could be the key to fewer colds and viruses, so it’s definitely worth the extra time spent cleaning up!
~ Here’s to Your Financial Health!