Dr. Cory Harow Answers the Question: How Often Should People Wash Their Hands?  

Germs from unwashed hands go on everything that is touched to include handrails, tabletops, toys, and even food. Handwashing creates a safer environment in the workplace, hospitals, or food industries. Many people do not wash their hands as often as you think and as much as you may not want to think about it, there are many people that don’t wash their hands each day and touch surfaces in public. Although you may not be able to control others washing their hands, you most certainly can take a step in the right direction and do your due diligence on hand washing.

Now, if you’re wondering how often you should be washing your hands each day, you may be surprised to learn hand washing should be completed around six to ten times per day. Hand washing lowers the chance of you catching a virus but there are certain times you should wash your hands such as before, during, and after preparing food, eating food, or taking out the garbage to help prevent cross-contamination. You should wash your hands when caring for someone who is sick. If you get a cut or wound, it’s important to wash your hands when treating the wound. Sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose can spread germs, especially if you don’t wash your hands which is why it’s important to wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs. Also when touching any animal, feeding them, or removing the animal waste. Many animals carry bacteria and certain illnesses that go into their feces. Washing hands prevents contamination of these illnesses from being transferred to humans.

There is indeed a certain way and a specific time frame to wash your hands. Clean water should always be used when washing your hands. After you rinse your hands, apply some soap to your hands, rub your hands together with the soap to include between your fingers, nails, front and back of your hands. Bacteria hosts under your nails and is a breeding ground for bacteria. Dr. Cory Harow advises washing your hands should be completed in no less than twenty seconds. You may not have a timer available to count that twenty seconds, but humming or singing the “Happy Birthday” song beginning to the end twice is twenty seconds. Don’t use a dirty towel to try your hands, always use a clean towel, paper towel, or air-dry your hands to reduce additional bacteria from going on your hands.

If you’re stuck in an area that doesn’t have any running soap or water, hand sanitizer can be used to kill germs. Hand sanitizer should be an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content in it. Hand sanitizer works great as a quick alternative to sanitize your hands however you should always wash your hands as soon as you have access to soap and running water. Hand sanitizer also may not be as effective when you have dirty hands that are dirty so soap and water are best. Dr. Cory Harow of West Boca Medical Center is encouraging all people to be diligent and wash their hands frequently to reduce the spread of germs.