Picture of a woman washing her hands at a sink.You probably wash your hands multiple times a day, but have you ever thought about why it’s so important to do so? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if everyone routinely washed their hands, it could prevent approximately 1 million deaths each year. Below we answer questions such as when and how long to wash your hands, and we also discuss whether hand sanitizer is a viable substitute for soap and water.

The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Your Hands

Wondering how exactly to wash your hands? Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

  • DO wash your hands after using the toilet, sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing, or touching frequently used surfaces or garbage. You should also wash your hands both before and after preparing/eating food and treating a wound.
  • DON’T rush through the process. You should spend at least 20 seconds scrubbing your hands.
  • DO use a clean towel to dry your hands (or, if you don’t have one available, you can air dry them).
  • DON’T forget to wash the backs of your hands, your fingernails, and the space in between your fingers.

What About Hand Sanitizer?

You should try to wash your hands with soap and water whenever possible, especially if your hands are greasy or visibly dirty. However, if you don’t have access to soap and water, you can use hand sanitizer instead (make sure to use a product containing at least 60% alcohol). After applying the hand sanitizer to one of your palms, continue rubbing your hands and fingers together until they’re dry (approximately 20 seconds).

A Trusted Urgent Care Provider Near You

As you know, following the proper handwashing steps can help reduce your risk of becoming sick. But if you develop an illness, you can turn to the experienced providers at Gateway Family and Urgent Care. The skilled team at our Campbell, California, immediate care center treats a wide range of minor illnesses, and we’ll recommend the course of treatment that’s best suited to your needs. Visit us today at 1580 Winchester Blvd., or contact us with any questions.