“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Reader, happy birthday to you.”
It’s that simple. Wet your hands, add soap and start singing (one verse of the birthday song; two if you have a nice voice).
Scrub all surfaces for about 15-20 seconds, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between fingers, and under fingernails. Rinse thoroughly and dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.
“The most effective way to prevent influenza or any other viruses that spread during flu season is good hand washing. It is one of the best ways to stay healthy during flu season,” adds Harrisburg-area physician John Goldman, MD, FACP.
According to Dr. Goldman, always wash your hands:
- After using a bathroom (private or public)
- After changing a diaper
- After touching an animal or items associated with animals
- Before and after food preparation
- Before eating
- After blowing your nose
- After coughing or sneezing into your hands
- Before and after treating cuts and wounds
- Before and after touching a sick or injured person
- After contact with blood or body fluid
- After handling garbage
- Before inserting or removing contact lenses
When soap and water aren’t available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an excellent alternative.
Dr. Goldman recommends using only alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol. Apply about half a teaspoon of the sanitizer to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together, covering all surfaces until they’re dry. If your hands are visibly dirty, however, wash with soap and water, if available, rather than a sanitizer.
It’s worth repeating. Germs are everywhere, especially as flu season approaches. Always, always, always wash your hands.