How to Wash Your Hands Like a Doctor

how to properly wash your hands illustration diagram

January has been the month of the cold that would not die at the McKay household. First one-half of the family got sick, then the other, then the first half again. It was a downright pandemic around here. Productivity, morale, and my gains — my poor, poor gains! — have suffered greatly.

It’s gotten me thinking about how to better handle getting sick in the future, and how to prevent getting sick in the first place. When it comes to the latter, proper and regular hand-washing is one of the most important weapons in your cold and flu-fighting arsenal. Kleenex Towels, Single... Best Price: $15.83 ($4.40 / 100 Sheets) Buy New $17.99 ($5.00 / 100 Sheets) (as of 02:15 EST - Details)

In the past I’ve admittedly been a short and sloppy washer. And I’m not alone; studies have shown that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly.

So we talked to Bryan Canterbury, ER doctor at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA, to get his tips on how to wash thoroughly like a right-old medical professional. His doctor-endorsed guide is above.

According to the CDC, you should wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

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