Does that headline sound like something you should have learned in, oh, kindergarten? Well, as true as that might be, in this violent flu season, the number one prevention technique recommended by every health professional is washing your hands ... and yes, you could be doing it wrong.
As shown in the video above, courtesy of skincare 'blogazine' The Skiny.com, dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett demonstrates the actual procedure you should be engaging in every time you douse those hands of yours post-bathroom break, bus ride or before eating. Be honest — how many of you were really rubbing your hands together for 20 seconds?
There's also the question of equipment, which remains a heated argument for companies with a vested interest. Will there be less bacteria left behind from air dryers or towels, for example? Does liquid soap make a difference versus bar soap? A 2000 study by the Mayo Clinic answered at least the first question, according to the New York Times, with a draw being called on either drying method (though a 15-second discrepancy in time should be noted).
And as for liquid or bar soap, it tends to come down to personal preference — most notably, the emphasis put on environmental importance. While liquid soap literally feels more sanitary thanks to the individual use factor, it does tend to come in plastic bottles containing chemicals in addition to cleansing agents. As far as the science goes, as HuffPost blogger and dean of Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment Bill Chameides noted, while liquid soap is recommended by health facilities, those advisories are meant for sterile conditions, and hardly your average home.
So what's a handwashing fiend and vague germaphobe to do? Well, make sure you're continuing to scrub up at every opportunity and avoiding touching your face. And hey, if you're so inclined, you can always make your own hand sanitizer — but we're not going to wade into the debate on that one right now.