Put Your Hands Together and Fight the Flu

Although the immediate threat of H1N1 — the swine flu — appears to be benign, experts say that the emerging strain could return in a more virulent form in future flu seasons [1]. And with increasing reports of the swine flu close to home, hand washing is more important than ever. Indeed, hand washing is the best way to prevent infection and illness. Some scientists estimate that as much as 80% of all infections are transmitted by unwashed hands [2]. Hand washing is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of infection and to stay healthy. As simple as it may be, there’s a trick to effectively washing your hands with soap and water.


Kids learn early on in preschool that to truly prevent the spread of germs, you’ve got to wash your hands. Nevertheless, a dab of soap and a quick rinse isn’t effective. The key is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure that you’ve removed the microbes. By rubbing your hands with soapy water, you pull dirt and oil from your skin. The soap lather suspends any germs trapped inside and are then washed away when rinsing.