Our first line of defense against the spread of infection and disease is always handwashing. Bacteria and viri collect throughout the day and are carried on the surface of our skin, easily transferred to and from telephones, keyboards and the hands of other people, and are the most likely source for infection, illness and disease. Therefore, the more often we clear from our hands these agents of illness, the less likely we are to be ill ourselves and to be the cause of illness for others.

The Basic and Essential Principles of Handwashing


  • Always Use Soap When Washing.  Standard soap, liquid or bar, is sufficient; it is not necessary to use antibacterial soap
  • Wash for a Minimum of 20 Seconds. Sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in your mind twice in a row to approximate 20 seconds
  • Include Wrists, Palms, Backs, and All Sides of Fingers and Thumbs. Scrub vigorously and purposefully
  • Re-wash Frequently. At a minimum, every 2 hours; after touching others’ hands or unclean surfaces
  • Keep Fingernails Clean. Manicure and clear dirt from under fingernails twice a week at a minimum
  • Sanitize Surfaces. Sanitize frequently phones, keyboards, keys, knobs, handles, steering wheels, etc.


  • Touch Your Face. The fastest way to spread disease is to transfer bacteria and viri to the skin of you face and your mucous membranes
  • Replace Handwashing with Sanitizer. Handwashing actually kills infectious agents; Hand Sanitizer only stuns infectious agents
  • Cough or Sneeze into Your Hands. Use the folds of your elbows or disposable facial tissues to control sneezes and coughs
  • Use Air-Dryers. Air-dryers that tend to aerosolize any remaining viri on the skin after washing; use disposable towelettes
  • Get Dry Skin. Frequent handwashing produces dry, cracking skin; use restoring emollients on your hands every evening
  • Neglect Cleaning Jewelry. Remember to clean and sanitize rings, bracelets, watches and watchbands weekly

Make proper and thorough handwashing a routine part of your day, and you will undoubtedly go a long way in preventing illness for yourself and your friends and family!





© 2020 Summit Medicine and Pediatrics | All Rights Reserved