Cold Prevention and Hand Washing

Nobody likes to get a cold.  Unfortunately, cold seasons spring up almost unexpectedly, and the more you happen to be around other people, the better your chances are of contracting the dreaded common cold.  Although this age-old illness cannot be cured, it can easily be prevented if you take a few precautionary steps to be sure you are not spreading it to yourself or to others.



Germ Transport

Did you know that over three-quarters of all infectious illness and disease is spread by touch?  As human beings, we do a lot with our hands.

You may be a teacher with a class full of students who have come down with a cold.  One student may sneeze into his or her hand, then pick up a test paper you have just handed out to read over the questions.  When that student hands in the same test paper, the germs are easily transmitted from the paper to your hands.

If someone in your family has a cold and opens the door or turns on the sink, the germs move from their hands to the doorknob or to the faucet, and they wait there until the next

unsuspecting cold victim comes along to touch the same surface.  They are pretty tricky!


Interrupting Germ Travel

The easiest way to interrupt the spread of germs from one sick person to a well one is to wash your hands.  If you touch that sick student’s test paper but then wash your hands immediately after, you will not be able to spread the germs from your own hands to anything or anyone else.  And if you wash your hands frequently throughout your day at home, even touching a doorknob covered in germs will not make you sick.


How Does It Work?

Rubbing your hands together alone is an action that helps get rid of germs more or less by pushing them off of your skin.  This is not enough, however, to take care of the germ threat completely without the added benefit of soap and water.  Water rinses more germs from your skin, and the hotter the water, the better your chances of killing those germs that are swarming your skin.  Soaps are designed with germ killing in mind as well.  Antibacterial soaps are the best way to keep your skin nice and clean, so be sure to use them every time you wash your hands.

There is a proper way to wash your hands to ensure that no germs can survive the experience.  Begin by getting a good amount of soap on one palm, and rubbing your hands together with just a small amount of water to bring the soap to a lather.  Scrub your soapy hands for a full minute (try singing the ABC’s to time yourself) and then rinse well in hot water.  Dry your hands thoroughly and you will be good to go!


Remember to keep your hands nice and clean, and you should be able to get through next cold season without anything catching up to you.  A little hot water and soap goes a long way!