More Health:

February 23, 2018

This is the best way to avoid getting sick

Habits Handwashing

Content sponsored by IBC - Native (195x33)

Washing Hands in Sink hxdbzxy/for PhillyVoice

We do everything we can to avoid getting sick– we get the flu shot, take vitamins, and stay away from people who are sick. However, research shows that there one simple thing that we don’t do nearly enough: wash our hands.

Why washing your hands is so important to your health

So, with cold and flu season in full swing, here’s a handful of reasons why we should all make hand-washing a priority.

  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted by dirty hands .1
  2. It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50 percent .1
  3. Handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16 percent .1
  4. In Pennsylvania elementary schools, handwashing-education programs have been shown to reduce absenteeism by 50.6 percent and save $167 per student, and have a projected annual savings of $24,300 per school.2
  5. Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented. 1

Skip the excuses — Not the soap

While handwashing awareness is at an all-time high, only 66 percent of Americans actually wash their hands after using the bathroom, and worse yet, 70 percent admit to not using soap.3

Let’s first start with the fact that germs stick to hands really well, and it takes a fair amount of water and friction to remove them. While a vigorous and thorough washing (20+ seconds) with water alone does remove some germs, the gold standard for removing the most germs is soap. Here’s how soap works.

Here’s the right way to wash your hands to help prevent germs from spreading in your home and community:

• Wet your hands with clean, running water, and apply soap.
• Lather your hands. Be sure to get the backs, between your fingers, and under your nails.
• Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
• Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

That’s it. In less than 25 seconds, your hands are clean — and you can go out and enjoy a healthy and fun winter in Philly.

Note: When soap and water are not available, the CDC offers the following guidelines for When and How to Use Hand Sanitizer  


This content was originally published on IBX Insights.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Show Me the Science — Why Wash Your Hands
2 Guinan, M. (2002). The effect of a comprehensive hand-washing program on absenteeism in elementary schools. American Journal of Infection Control. http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(02)68131-3/abstract.
3 PRNewswire. Global Hand-washing Day Focuses on Need for Universal Hand Hygiene.


About Sheila Perlick

I am a copywriter at IBX as well as a spouse, parent, dog owner, and kind of meh cook. Just like a lot of people, I am always looking for ways to make my day-to-day life easier so I can spend more time with family, sneak in a little more exercise, and (hopefully) get more sleep.