Saturday, October 20, 2012

When and how to wash your hands

Honestly, I wish I didn't have to address this issue. But based on the sheer number of people I've observed walking straight from the toilet stall to the restroom door without even glancing at the sink, this has to be said.

When do you need to wash your hands? Any time your hands are visibly dirty, and (more importantly) whenever you've been exposed to pathogens. That means before and after you eat, frequently during meal preparation and when you're ill, and EVERY SINGLE TIME after you go to the restroom. It doesn't matter if you think your hands look and smell "clean enough;" the next time you offer someone a handshake they're going to get a heaping helping of microbes from your feces and urine into the bargain. Don't be a plague rat.

So, how do you wash your hands?

You will need:
  1. A clean running water source.
  2. Soap.
  3. A towel or other drying device, such as a hand dryer.
Step up to the water source and turn it on, if necessary. Get your hands thoroughly wet -- front, back, and between fingers. Warm to hot water is most effective for killing germs, but you don't need to scald your hands to get them clean. Only after your hands are wet should you move toward the soap. Use enough soap to work up a lather, if possible. Lather for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to hum the song "Happy Birthday"), paying special attention to your nails and between your fingers. Rinse the soap off your hands. Turn off the water source if necessary (some instructions suggest you turn it off with a paper towel in hand to avoid cross-contamination). Dry your hands on the towel or under the hand dryer.

Now you know. And on behalf of the entire human race, I'd like to say thank you for doing your part to help keep the Black Death out of modern society.

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