Get Ready guide to hand-washing

Your hands aren’t as clean as you think they are. Harmful viruses and bacteria can live on your keyboard, smartphone and more for hours.

Did you wash your hands in the bathroom today? Really? A study found that 91 percent of adults say they did, but only 83 percent were observed washing up. And even less of us wash up after sneezing or coughing. Translation: gross stuff gets everywhere.

The Food and Drug Administration says that up to half of all foodborne illnesses could be prevented if we all washed up. What does that mean? Hand-washing works!

Just how important is washing your hands? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it the “single most important means of preventing the spread of infection.”

Washing your hands isn’t hard.

  1. Wet your hands.
  2. Lather up with soap.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse off.

What does 20 seconds feel like? 20 seconds is how long it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

By the way, using hand sanitizer isn’t as good as washing your hands. It can fill in when a sink isn’t available, but a good scrub with soap and water is always best.

American Public Health Association