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Keep the Flu Away: Wash Your Hands Correctly

Washing your hands – it’s the simplest way to prevent illness and the spread of germs. With H1N1 virus or swine flu making the news, it’s more important than ever to take precautions against disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that hand washing is the best way to prevent infection.

But while we may be washing our hands, are we washing them correctly? Cindy Lott, RN, is an Infection Prevention Specialist at Norman Regional Health System.

“It’s so important to remember to wash your hands. While people may be washing their hands, we want to make sure they are washing them the right way,” Lott said. “Not washing hands long enough or touching the faucet after cleaning hands are two of the biggest mistakes people make.”

Lott offers these easy tips to make sure your digits and palms are properly scrubbed.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  • Don’t wash your hands in water that’s too hot. This is will irritate skin and you likely won’t wash for the recommended time.
  • Make sure to scrub all skin surfaces and also get under rings. Don’t forget to also wash your fingernails and your thumbs.
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel and use that paper towel to turn off the water faucet.

Alcohol-based hand rub is also a good option to clean hands. Lott said to check the manufacturer’s recommendation on how much product you should put onto your hands. You should rub hands together until dry, which is usually about 15 to 20 seconds. However, always use soap and water to wash your hands if they are visibly dirty.

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Contact Kelly Wells
Norman Regional Health System

Office (405) 307.2143
Fax (405) 307.2144
Email NRHS_Corporate_Communications@nrh-ok.com