washing hands

How often do you wash your hands? How often do you see people wash their hands? This simple act of good hygiene is overlooked more often than you might like to believe.

With staph infections on the rise and contamination a serious problem in American hospitals, patients are being urged to ask their doctors to scrub up in front of them. Infections are linked to nearly 100,000 deaths per year, with 1 million patients being affected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges patients and their loved ones to not be too intimidated or shy to say “wash your hands!” when dealing with health care workers.

But what about you? Do you wash your hands after the bathroom 100% of the time? Before you eat? After taking out the trash and playing with the dog? After you cough, sneeze or blow your nose? C’mon, be honest. With cold and flu season upon us, there’s no better time to review the reasons for washing your hands. If not for you, wash your hands  for the people who love and depend on you! Here are more reasons why.

Seven Serious Reasons to Wash Your Hands

1. You can be infected with germs before you show any symptoms of sickness, putting those around you at risk. You don’t have to be sneezing and coughing to be a flu virus carrier; in fact, some people never show symptoms. Once you’ve fallen ill, you’ve already had numerous opportunities to spread your sickness. When you wash your hands, you’ll stop germs in their track, and prevent illness from spreading.

2. It’s important to wash your hands often, because your hands are how you interact with the world. Without disinfecting, erms can live on surfaces for hours. Bacteria and viruses can live on doorknobs, keyboards, tables, pens, smartphones and other hard surfaces for up to two hours. You touch these things, you touch these germs.

3. You don’t have to lick your hands to get sick. In fact, merely by shaking hands with someone who is sick you can contract salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, gastroenteritis, norovirus, impetigo and e. coli. You can’t avoid human interaction and live inside a bubble, but you can wash your hands.

4. Germs are invisible. Just because you can’t see any dirt or filth, doesn’t mean that germs aren’t there. These microscopic invaders can’t be brushed away – but they can be killed when you wash your hands with soap and warm water.

5. You could die. Contaminated hands don’t just spread annoying cold and flu bugs – they also spread potentially fatal diseases like hepatitis A and staphylococcus aureus. “Too lazy too wash hands” is not what you want on your tombstone.

6. Because you can. Millions of people in the world do not have access to clean water or soap. Take advantage of our country’s clean, running water and readily available soap to do your part–wash your hands and fight the spread of germs.

7. Hand washing is THE #1 way to prevent the spread of disease, according to the CDC, trumping vaccines and all other preventative health measures. Remember, wash your hands with clean, warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds to effectively kill germs. (Sing the song “Happy Birthday” twice if you don’t have access to a clock). And don’t forget to dry your hands, which is an essential part of the cleaning process.

Related on Organic Authority:

Can Washing Chicken Reduce Salmonella?

Not So Handy: The Dangers of Using Hand Sanitizer

Build A Strong Immune System to Fight Back To School Germs

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