• Dr Jasper Mahon

Hand washing

Good advice from the ABC:

In addition to washing your hands more often, you also need to make sure you wash them thoroughly.

To get properly germ-free hands, you need to lather them up with soap, and scrub for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice) under clean, running water.

"Get your hands wet, lather up, and keep lathering all the surfaces of your hands, particularly your finger tips and around your nails, then rinse off," said Mary-Louise McLaws, an infection control expert from the University of New South Wales.

Don't worry too much about the temperature of the water. But in public bathrooms, try to use paper towel to turn off the tap, as well as to help you open the bathroom door when leaving.

Drying matters

Drying your hands properly is also important, Professor McLaws said.

"The friction of a hand towel, whether it's paper or cloth ... removes germs if you haven't removed them with the soap and water," she said.

In public bathrooms, a paper towel is your best bet.

When that's not an option, using a hand dryer or letting them air dry is OK, so long as you allow your hands to properly dry.

At home, if you're using hand towels in the bathroom, it's important to wash them regularly. If someone at home is sick, it's best they use their own towel.


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