Peak Performance: That Handshake May be a “Germ Shake”

Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick or spreading germs to others, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, American’s hand-cleaning habits are on the decline, based on a study by the Soap and Detergent Association (www.Cleaning101.com).

Although 92% said they “always” washed their hands after going to the bathroom, only 28% said they “always” washed their hands after a cough or sneeze.

The percentage of people who say they wash their hands more than 10 times a day rose from 36% in 2004, but overall, almost a third of the 2006 participants say they wash their hands less than seven times a day. And when people do wash, 69% don’t wash for more than 20 seconds. That’s the length of time recommended by the CDC for a hand-washing session.

So how do you make sure you get your hands as clean as possible?

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Wet your hands with clean, warm running water
  • Apply soap and rub hands together to make a lather
  • Scrub all surfaces of your hands for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice!)
  • Rinse well under running water
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer, using the paper towel to turn off the faucet

A little focus on these simple recommendations can keep you healthy and productive year-round.

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