September 16, 2013

Tip for Staying Healthy: Hand Washing with Soap and Water

The truth is, there's no substitute.  Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness.  It only requires soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer--a cleanser that doesn't require water.  As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, your hands accumulate germs.  By touching your eyes, nose or mouth, you can infect yourself.  Washing your hands helps limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.  

Always wash hands before:  preparing food or eating, treating wounds or giving medicine or caring for a sick or injured person, or inserting or removing contact lenses.  Always wash hands after:  preparing food (especially raw meat or poultry), using the toilet or changing a diaper, touching an animal or anything the animal has contacted, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands, treating wounds, caring for a sick or injured person, handling garbage or anything that can be contaminated such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes.

How:  the best way to wash your hands is with soap and water.  Wet your hands with running water, apply liquid or bar soap, lather well, rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds getting all surfaces (back of hand, wrists, between your fingers and under your nails), rinse well, and dry with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.  If possible, use your towel to turn off the faucet.

Antibacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap at killing germs.  Hand sanitizers must be at least 60% alcohol and are not as effective against all germs.  

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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