Health Team

Health Officials: There's a Right Way to Wash Hands

Posted October 24, 2007
Updated October 25, 2007

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— Effective hand washing can be key to preventing the spread of germs that can lead to serious illness.

Besides the cold and flu season, people also have to be aware of the spread of MRSA - an antibiotic resistant germ that can lead to life-threatening staph infections.

Washing your hands the correct way can reduce your risk of contamination, according to health officials.

With rooms full of sick people, thorough hand washing at WakeMed is part of the routine. Healthcare workers are trained to do it the right way, beginning with soap and warm water.

“Make sure you wash with good friction, in between your finger spaces, at the tops of your hands [and] the palms of your hands for 20 seconds,” said Robin Carver, WakeMed's director of infection control. “Take a paper towel and turn off the water faucets with a paper towel, because your hands were dirty when you cut them on.”

Carver says microbes not only live on people’s skin, but also on surfaces. A detergent wipe using friction should kill them. Then people have to worry about spreading germs through the air when you're close to someone.

“If you're going to cough or sneeze … do it inside of your elbow,” Carver said.

That keeps the germs out of the air and off the hands, the way most illness is spread.


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  • areyou.serious Oct 27, 2007

    When all they have is hot air dryers, I've had to wait for up 20 minutes until the next person opens the door so I can slip out....


    There should be a law/rule that says if you are going to offer the hand dryers that you should also have a push door exit, so I can use my foot. You just have to be careful not to push/kick the door so hard that you hit the guy entering in the nose.

  • areyou.serious Oct 27, 2007

    gregfuller - What % do you make in commission? :)

  • Go Georgia Tech Oct 26, 2007

    your right Gafan- it had to be a grad from UGA in the stall with him!! lol.. (sorry I had to) Nov.24 GT is going to put the smack down on Ga!! Go Yellow Jackets!!

  • poohperson2000 Oct 26, 2007

    I keep hand sanitizer in my purse because my son will wash his hands in a public bathroom and manage to touch a million other things on the way out. If you have kids there is no need to worry about what your boss does, they are 10 times nastier. They may wash their hands well, but then they touch everything else.

  • Gafan003 Oct 26, 2007

    Maybe someone wiped for him

  • Go Georgia Tech Oct 26, 2007

    If you go into a busy bathroom (say at a ballgame or Airport) take a few moments to stand back and watch how many people exit it after taking care of their business never once washing their hands.. I watched my boss do number 2 walk out of the restroom, and shake a potential clients hand when he exited the plane.. if he only knew.

  • itsnews2me Oct 26, 2007

    Yeah, ok, Joe Public is all about washing his hands now. See if you can get hospital doctors to do the same, since they are more responsible for the spreading of germs between patients than Joe Public and (as is usually the case for MD's) think that they are somehow exempt from the forces that affect all others.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 25, 2007

    I always left way wash my hands.

  • poohperson2000 Oct 25, 2007


    You can refuse to shake hands all you want, but when you exchange papers, or touch any other community surfaces else where, your effors are a waste. I never have understood the paper towel and the bathroom door for that reason. They say there are more germs and bacteria in found in your work area (desk, office) than a bathroom.

  • TwoFer Oct 25, 2007

    There's a wrong way to wash not to!