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Wash Those Hands

It’s National Hand Washing Week! Studies say that frequent hand washing greatly reduces your chances of getting sick as often. Doctors recommend washing your hands before meals with warm soap and water for about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”  Here are some tips to avoid those nasty germs:

Public bathrooms are cleaned fairly often, so while you’re wise to use your hip to push open stall doors and paper towels to manage handles and knobs, you’re more likely to pick up the sniffles from other places in your daily travels. Pull out your handy antibacterial wipes when you’re:

At the grocery store. How often do you think shopping cart handles are cleaned? Think how often they’re used.

Using cashier pens. Pens provided to sign credit card purchases are superb carriers of cold viruses. That goes for pens in doctors’ offices, at banks, and by delivery people. So carry your own pen.

At ATM and in the elevator. Press all buttons with a finger or knuckle that you’re unlikely to use to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Better yet, use a key or a pen you carry with you.

Washing your hands. Unless the liquid hand soap in public bathroom is in its own sealed bag, it’s likely a breeding fiesta for bacteria. Rinse well with warm water and use your own hand sanitizer.

Pushing an elevator button is more likely to make you sick than kissing your under the weather husband. Why? If someone sneezes into his hand before hitting the button, the virus ridden fluid from his nose awaits you. Saliva, however, contains little, if any, cold viruses, explains Dr. Neil Schachter, M.D., professor of pulmonary medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of “The Good Doctor’s Guild to Colds and Flu.”

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