How can you wash your hands without spreading germs when you touch the tap handle?
This is a great question: There you are, doing the right thing by washing your hands for 20 seconds or more with warm water and plenty of soap. Then you realize that, to turn off the tap, you have to touch the same handle you touched when your hands were dirty!
Lots of people use a paper towel to turn off a tap after washing their hands (and some people also use a paper towel to open the restroom door when they leave). Using your elbow to push the tap handle closed is another way to avoid touching it — although this is easier to do with some kinds of taps than others.
Germs don't just stay in the restroom, though. Surfaces like desks, keyboards, and shopping cart handles are big germ hangouts. So it's a good idea to carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use before you eat, after you blow your nose, etc.
Studies prove that good hand washing habits keep infections at bay. So wash your hands well and often, but don't worry too much about hidden germs on taps, sinks, and other places. Most teens have strong immune systems that can cope with these.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|Hand Washing Did you know that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands? If you don't wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself.|
|Why Should I Care About Germs? Germs are tiny organisms that can cause disease - and they're so small that they can creep into your system without you noticing. Find out how to protect yourself.|
|MRSA MRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can't tackle anymore. The good news is that there are some simple ways to protect yourself from being infected. Find out how.|
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