ACHS Nutritionist and Health Education Specialist, Chad Proulx
With cases of the “you-know-what” virus climbing, experts are rightfully promoting hand-washing as one of the best means of preventing transmission of germs. But I want to talk about drying your hands – the unsung, and often, over-looked second half of hand-washing. And you don’t want to miss this important step… That’s because the transmission of germs, which cling to moisture, is more likely to happen between wet skin than dry. Drying your hands thoroughly takes care of the moisture, as well as some of the transference risk if you use a paper towel (germs and towel go in the trash). So be sure to dry your hands, too!
Don’t forget to dry your hands!
Another tip – use the same paper towel you dried your hands with to turn off the faucet and open the door once you are finished washing to avoid touching these possible concentrated germ sites (you know not everyone is washing their hands as they should be). By using the paper towel you add another layer of defense between germs and your hands.
Water temperature – cool is ok, warmer is better – washing them with soap is key!
Finally – there are some studies that indicate using hot water in frequent hand-washing can strip the skin of natural oils, creating dry and cracked skin – which opens the skin for greater risk of infection. Plus, in order for hot water to kill a germ outright, it would have to be boiling. A study in 2017 at Rutgers showed that washing hands in cool water is just as effective as using hot water. Warmer water helps the soap to disperse better, but, temperature itself is not a factor in killing off the bacteria. More importantly, just make sure to lather the soap work it all-around well for 20 seconds — or about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
if you are like me and prefer something snappier to sing to try Prince, Lizzo or Eminem. Check out these tune ideas from the LA Times.
For more information on handwashing basics and how they can help control the spread of viruses such as coronavirus (COVID19) visit: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention