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Cold Water Just As Effective As Warm Water For Hand Washing

Medical News Today reports that cold water is just as effective as warm water for killing bacteria. This advice flies in the face of conventional wisdom and existing FDA safety regulations. What is not open for debate is the fact that most people do not know how to properly wash their hands.

Hand washing is an incredibly simple way to reduce your exposure to potentially disease-causing germs and reduce your chances of getting sick. It is crucial that your hands are cleaned before eating or touching your mouth, eyes and nose, and after using the restroom or visiting public areas.

Hand washing is only effective if it’s done correctly. In a study of more than 3,700 bathroom-goers in a college town, only 5 percent washed their hands properly, in a way that would kill infection and illness-causing germs. Simply rinsing your hands with water, or giving a quick scrub with soap, is probably not enough.

To make sure you’re actually removing the germs when you wash your hands, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use warm, running water and a mild soap (avoid antibacterial soap)
  2. Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, scrubbing for at least 15 or 20 seconds (most people only wash for about 6 seconds)
  3. Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails
  4. Rinse thoroughly under running water
  5. In public places, use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor

Hand washing is crucial but the state of your immune system is actually what ultimately determines whether you stay healthy or get sick when you’re exposed to germs. Healthy eating, regular stress relief, exercise and proper sleep are the foundations of a healthy immune system. In particular, increasing your intake of fermented foods will nourish the healthful microorganisms in your gut (where about 80 percent of your immune system resides), allowing it to effectively fight off pathogenic microbes that find their way into your body.

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