Over the last few years, we’ve all gotten an education on the importance of washing hands. Adrian Busen M.D. gives his best advice for how to do the task right.
Washing your hands properly is arguably the best thing you can do to prevent yourself and your family from getting sick. Adrian Busen M.D., a specialist in general medicine at Dr. Münster practice in Münster, Germany explains why this is and gives some great advice for when and how to wash your hands.
Why is it important to wash our hands?
Most people wash their hands to get rid of visible dirt, but we need to remember the invisible germs that lurk on our hands. “Washing hands on a regular basis helps us remove germs that cause illness, while preventing the spread of illness to others,” Busen M.D. explains. “It’s an important technique for safeguarding the health of the people you live and work with.”
How often should we wash our hands?
We should aim to wash our hands 6-10 times a day. “The most important times to wash include after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing and right after we get home,” says Busen M.D. “If we know we’ve been in contact with someone who is ill, we should immediately wash our hands.”
Here are a few other guidelines:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating
- Before and after attending to wounds
- After blowing your nose
- After handling animals or animal waste
- After touching garbage
- After handling money
- After using public transportation
- After working in the garden
What’s the best way to wash our hands?
Before COVID, the average person washed their hands for 6 seconds. The pandemic has perhaps changed that as people have become more aware of the importance of washing hands.
“The rule of thumb is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, soaping them up properly to form foam and scrubbing between the fingers, not forgetting the fingertips and the area under the fingernails,” says Busen M.D. For extra measure, if you can hum the ‘Happy birthday’ song twice in the time you’re washing your hands, you can be sure you’ve done it long enough.
It’s also important to avoid touching the faucet when you’re finished and to dry your hands with a clean towel. During flu season, it’s recommended to wash and replace the towels regularly.
Why is it important to avoid touching the faucet?
“Bacteria are collecting on our hands all day. When we turn taps on and off, these bacteria get transferred onto the faucet, and that means every time the tap is touched the bacteria are transferred back to the hands of the user,” Busen M.D. explains. “Touchless faucets are a good solution to this. Since you don’t need to touch the tap, you can avoid picking up germs after washing and stay clean and hygienic for longer.”
Touchless faucets make handwashing more hygienic and they’re not just for public places anymore. You can install one in your own home to help prevent germs from spreading between your family members. And touchless faucets also help save water as they stop running automatically during your 20-second scrub.
About Adrian Busen
M.D.Adrian Busen M.D. practices as a specialist in general medicine at the Dr. Münster practice in Münster, in the region of Westphalia, Germany. A key focus area at the Dr. Münster practice is “Promoting Health and Prevention of Disease”. Busen M.D. works in the areas of manual medicine/chirotherapy with a focus on atlas therapy (atlasReflexTh.®). He also holds the additional distinctions of DAEM/DGEM® nutritional medical practitioner and specialist in travel medicine (CRM).