It's common knowledge that washing your hands often and well is the best way to prevent disease transmission. Many of us are accustomed to using soap during handwashing as a matter of course -- it's there in public bathrooms, it's in our homes, it's in the office kitchen. Then there are those miscreants among us who seem satisfied simply to rinse with running water before going back to their business. Who are these germ-mongerers, that they think they can ignore the very clearly labeled (and fragrant!) sudsy agents the rest of us use with such diligence?
Before we get too carried away in our indignation, it's worth pointing out that soap is neither the holy elixir we sometimes think…
Almost every news organization in the country, from major television networks to small-town newspapers, has published its very own instructional guide explaining “How to Wash Your Hands” within the past week. In the age of coronavirus, they—we!—have done this for the noblest of purposes: public health and sweet, sweet clicks.
A real doctor answers all our weird questions about hand-washing best practices.
But the latter still works if you’re in a pinch.
If Regina King can't get you to wash your hands, who can?
A brief social history of hand-washing.
In 19th-century Vienna, Ignaz Semmelweis fought to convince his fellow doctors that washing their hands could save patients’ lives.
It’s one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community. And if you’re like us, you’ve probably been doing it wrong.
Even today, convincing health care providers to take hand-washing seriously is a challenge. Hundreds of thousands of hospital patients get infections each year, infections that can be deadly and hard to treat.
It’s one of the best ways to avoid infection from the new coronavirus, but most people aren’t very good at it. Here’s expert guidance on how to do it right.
Over the past few decades, doctors have arrived at a counterintuitive hypothesis about our modern, ultra-sanitized world. Too much cleanliness may be causing us to develop allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, and other autoimmune disorders. The idea is that for many children in the wealthy world, a lack of exposure to bacteria, viruses, and allergens prevents the normal development of the immune system, ultimately increasing the chance of disorders within this system down the road. This is called the hygiene hypothesis.
Redefining “clean” in an era of the skin microbiome.
Multiple times a day, every day, for most of your life you performed the act of washing your hands. And if you are like 95% of Americans, you’ve been doing it wrong. According to Michigan State University, only 5% of people actually wash their hands correctly. During cold and flu season this is nothing to make light of.
As you’ve most certainly heard by now, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against the coronavirus is to wash your hands. Often. And thoroughly. And as you’ve probably noticed by now, washing your hands so frequently can have the unfortunate and adverse effect of drying out your skin. Ironically, if your skin dries out to the point of cracking, those cracks can give bacteria an entry point.
When you’re washing your hands this much, it’s imperative to take the additional step of keeping them moisturized.
Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy.
You’re a walking germ.
Although alcohol-based hand sanitizers can inactivate many types of microbes very effectively when used correctly, people may not use a large enough volume of the sanitizers or may wipe it off before it has dried. Furthermore, soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing or inactivating certain kinds of germs, like Cryptosporidium, norovirus, and Clostridium difficile.
Women are slightly better at hand-washing than men. Here’s one theory for why.
Many of us wash our hands with soap and water, but how much work is the soap really doing?
One of the world’s most crucial and selfless acts is still simply washing your hands.
Washing your hands is your number one protection against the acquisition and spread of infectious disease. But you do not need to use antimicrobial soap to get the job done.
A few 20-second snippets you actually won't mind having stuck in your head while you anxiously wash for the "right" amount of time.
The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing is a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
Hand hygiene is the most important intervention for preventing HAIs. Resources include...
Most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way.