Washing hands regularly is the single most important hygiene step in fighting the spread of bacteria, viruses and other germs. Handwashing involves 5 essential steps: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse and Dry. Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to apply soap to the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Here are the common mistakes you may be making while washing your hands:
1 . Not washing long enough
Wash for at least a full 15 to 20 seconds. Not washing long enough makes the whole process ineffective as the germs are still left on the skin.
2 . Missing the important sites
By just rubbing the soap between your palms and washing it off does not mean that you practice hand hygiene. Germs tend to hide under fingernails and in the pockets between fingers, so you should scrub these areas vigorously every time you wash your hands.
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3 . Not using soap
Washing your hands with just water is not enough. Since the surfaces of bacteria and viruses are made partly of fatty materials, ingredients in soap create a chemical reaction that grabs onto the germs so they rinse right off with the lather.
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4 . Not washing frequently
It’s important to wash your hands not only after using the restroom but after handling garbage, before you eat and even after you’ve touched surfaces in public areas that may contain flu and cold germs, such as stores, gyms and public transportation.
5 . Not drying thoroughly
Even the best handwashing techniques are worthless if you skip drying. Germs love to breed in moisture. Leaving the bathroom with still-damp hands can make it easier to pick up germs microbes from the next surface you touch.
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6 . Not following the “No touch technique”
Many viruses live in closed spaces, like faucets, counters and other restroom surfaces. After you have washed use your elbow or a clean towel to turn off the tap and open the door in public restrooms. It’s a good idea to do this at home too.