Germs are everywhere, especially on your hands


One of life's great truths is simply this: Germs are everywhere!

Whether it's the flu, a cold, norovirus, or any other icky bug you're trying to avoid, taking the right steps can be big help.

Dr. Muhammad Umar Khan, of Covenant's Infectious Diseases department, knows one thing very well: Germs. And your hands, my hands, everybody's hands are covered with them.

"Whenever you shake hands with anybody, and you consider that person has a cough or was sick around you."

Germs are not jut on our hands, they're on everything we touch.

"They could be on computers, surfaces- like keyboards," Dr. Khan says, "They could on counters, or toilet handles, and you may not even know that you just picked it up."

That's why your mom was probably always- and may still be- telling you this one thing:

"Try to avoid rubbing your noise or avoid putting your hands in your mouth," Khan says.

While that may help keep you from getting sick, you need to do much more to truly fend off germs.

"Both sides of the hands should be washed, as often as we think we have been exposed to individuals," Khan says.

Don't just wash both sides of your hands, but thoroughly clean between your fingers, under your nails.

Dr. Khan says you should also make sure you are not getting your hands all germy again, right after you wash them, "Whenever you wash your hands, you're coming out of the toilet, use a towel for the knob, so that you don't infect it again on your way out."

If you can't get to nice, lathery soap and water, go ahead and use hand sanitizer. Some experts are not as keen on antibacterials, but that's partly because we tend to spend lesss time cleaning our hands with sanitizers. You still need to thoroughly clean both sides of your hands, and take your time really rubbing them in.

"Make use of them when you can," Khan says, "Just use them like you wash your hands. Make sure you clean both surfaces, and leave them on until they are dry.

Of course, when possible, you should also sanitize the surfaces you touch, expecially the ones you share with co-workers, and the people you live with- like countertops and bathrooms.

Dr. Khan suggests you do it often, "At least daily. There's wipes. There's sprays that are available as well. Usually, products that have Clorox in them are more effective, against viral agents."

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