Did you know that the average American worker uses more than 10 sick days each year? According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing your hands can reduce respiratory illness by more than 16%, and gastrointestinal illness by 31%.
Imagine having a day-and-a-half fewer colds, and three days fewer GI bugs. And all it takes is regular hand washing, not just after using the bathroom, but after many other events as well.
You should wash your hands
- After using the bathroom. (Some studies have found that a third of people failed to wash their hands after using the toilet. Yikes!)
- After taking out the trash.
- After blowing your nose or coughing. (Never cough or sneeze into your hand. Instead, sneeze and cough into your elbow/forearm.)
- Before you eat.
- Before preparing food.
- Immediately when you return home from being out.
Are you washing long enough?
A quick hand-wash may not be cleaning your hands as well as you think. The CDC suggests you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself twice. You should be sure to lather the front and back of your hands, as well as between the fingers and beneath your fingernails.
Washing for 20 seconds can save you days of being sick. It’s worth spending the extra few seconds, don’t you think?