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Worried About Germs? Wash Your Hands, UC Irvine Says

Just 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with soap can effectively kill germs. Unfortunately, most people only manage about six seconds.

Photo by Getty Images.
Photo by Getty Images.

As the winter cold season approaches, UC Irvine Health says hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness.

According to an article on the UC Irvine website, just 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with soap can effectively kill germs. Unfortunately, most people only manage about six seconds.

Linda Dickey, director of infection control for UC Irvine Medical Center, offers the following tips:

  • Clean under your nails at least once a day
  • Keep your hands away from your face
  • Sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm
  • After washing your hands, use your towel to turn off the faucet and open the door, if possible

When running water isn’t available, waterless hand sanitizers are also effective, Dickey says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more hand washing tips online.

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