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Woman washing hands

Keeping Your Hands Virtually Germ Free

You may have heard of the importance of a good handshake. The quality of the handshake you greet someone with has a lot to do with the impression you make. A firm handshake signals trustworthiness and confidence. The “Dead Fish” can blow an interview before the first question is asked. However, lately the popularity of the handshake is declining. Could it be the fear of germs is rendering the handshake obsolete?
According to a survey by Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer, 55% of Americans are so scared of germs that they would prefer to touch a public toilet seat to shaking the hand of a person who has just sneezed or coughed into it. Not that surprising? Well, consider that 2 in 5 American adults have reported having been reluctant to give someone a handshake due to fear of germs. “But, the handshake is an American Institution!” you cry, “After all, a fist pump can not inform you about a person’s character! How can I tell if someone is trustworthy from a fist pump?”
Clearly, there is only one answer to this. The only way to ensure that handshakes do not disappear forever is for all people to make sure their hands are virtually germ free at all times, and here’s how!

Wash Hands With Soap
The tried and true method is sometimes the best method. Washing hands is completely safe and kills 99% of germs.

Use Ethyl Alcohol Hand Sanitizer
The Ethyl alcohol hand sanitizer is another option. It is antimicrobial, has been around a long time, and is safer than alcohol free Sanitizers, which are known to contain toxic ingredients. However, alcohol dries skin oils and this can be problematic, especially in cold weather. Look for products that contain aloe Vera and Vitamin E help restore moisture.


Use A Tissue
Try to keep tissues handy at all times; you never know when a sneeze, cough, or congestion may be coming on. If you are caught short, use the bend in your elbow to cover your mouth or nose instead of your hand. Toss the tissue in the trash our as soon as you can avoid infecting others.

Avoid Sharing
If you are avoiding germs, you don’t want to share utensils and clothing with a sick person. Wash your silver utensils in a dishwasher or with soap and water by hand. Disposable utensils are also a good option for avoiding germ transfer. To keep clothes free of bacteria, use hot water and detergent when doing the laundry. Add bleach for some extra germ eliminating power.

Keep Surfaces Clean
Use anti- bacterial or anti- septic cleansers or add bleach to the water. Wear gloves when you clean and dispose of them when you’re done. Avoid touching doorknobs, elevator buttons, telephones and handles in trains and buses.
So, can we all agree that we will do all we can to keep ourselves healthy and keep our hands free from germs? Shake on it?

Clean hands with French manicure

Dare To Go Bare

Nail polish is so attractive and there are so many trendy manicure options now, it’s hard to think of taking time off to let our nails go bare for a while. However, keeping polish on nails for a prolonged period of time can be doing our nails harm. Find out how your nails might be suffering the effects of being constantly polished and what you can do about it.

Many of us have heard of the benefits of leaving polish off to let nails ‘breathe’. The reality is, nails don’t actually need to breathe, as they receive nutrients and oxygen from the blood stream, not the air. However, leaving polish on can lead to keratin granulation. “These are white, rough patches on the nail that form when the polish is removed along with the superficial layers of nail cells,” explains certified dermatologist and nail specialist Dana Stern. Stern goes on to explain that these are caused by trauma to the nail matrix. The granulations do grow out over time but can result in permanent damage to the matrix that can lead to nail alteration.

Foot specialist Joy Rowland expands on this theory. “The danger with keeping your nail polish on too long is that the pigment in the nail polish can soak into the top few layers of the nail and dry it out,” says Rowland. When that happens, mildew, yeast, mold and bacteria can develop under the nail plate which can lead to long term problems. Rowland recommends leaving polish off and trying to keep feet dry to promote healing. She also recommends rubbing the nail beds with vitamin E.

Nail polish remover can also be dangerous to the nails. Dermatologists simplify the science behind this by comparing nails to tiles on a roof. “These tiles are made of protein, specifically keratin, just like our hair. These cells are very delicate and can become damaged with prolonged exposure to certain chemicals,” says Stern. One of these chemicals is acetone, commonly found in nail polish remover. Acetone can dry out the keratin cells that make up the nail plate causing them to separate, split, peel and break.

Obviously, it is a good idea to take breaks between manicures and let nails go bare. A few weeks with nail polish on, and then a few weeks with bare nails is the recommended procedure. Here are some other helpful hints for keeping nails healthy:

  • Always wear a protective base coat. This will keep nails from yellowing.
  • Take biotin and vitamins to keep nails healthy.
  • Use gloves while doing housework.
  • Keep nails trim and buff them lightly in one direction.
  • Don’t peel your nail polish. This will make the cells on your nails grow in a slanted direction and weaken them.
  • Rub oil into nails to seal in moisture.
  • Avoid overexposure to water and alcohol (which can be found in hand sanitizers).
Woman washing hands

Handwashing Keeps You Healthy

When it comes to your health, handwashing is the single most important thing you can do to prevent illnesses, infections and diseases. There is no way to completely isolate yourself from germs, but you can minimize exposure to germs and other disease-causing microbes by frequently washing your hands. Keep reading to learn why you need to wash your hands, and when and how you should be washing your hands.

Why Washing Your Hands Is Important
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that “microbes are all tiny living organisms that may or may not cause diseases,” and “germs, or pathogens, are types of microbes that can cause disease.” As you go through each day, your hands accumulate tons of germs by touching people, surfaces and objects. Because you are constantly being exposed to germs, and it is impossible to stop that, it is important that you don’t let these germs remain on your skin. Infection and illness occurs when your germ-filled hands touch areas like your eyes, mouth or nose and enter into your body. Washing your hands frequently is the best way to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing microbes.

When to Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands before or after certain activities can help prevent illnesses and the spread of germs more effectively. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that you should always wash your hands:

  • Before eating
  • Before and after food preparation
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After cleaning up a child who has used the toilet or changing diapers
  • After touching garbage
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching an animal, animal waste or animal feed

How to Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands properly is important to stopping the spread of germs. To be sure you are thoroughly cleansing your hands you should:

  • Wet your hands with running water that is either warm or cold. There isn’t any definitive data that states the temperature of the water impacts how clean your hands get, and hot water is irritating to the skin and weakens the natural moisture barrier, which can allow more germs and bacteria to enter the skin.
  • Turn off the faucet. You want to do this because when the water accumulates in the sink, it can bring any germs from the sink to your hands, and turning off the faucet saves water.
  • Apply soap and work into a lather. When doing this step, be sure to lather the backs of your hands, under your nails and in between your fingers.
  • Scrub hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands under running water that is either warm or cold.
  • Pat hands dry with a towel. Because you’ve just washed your hands, if it is possible you want to turn off the faucet with your elbow or a towel to avoid adding germs right back to your hands.

Washing your hands protects your body against the spread of bacteria, viruses and other germs that make you sick. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and properly to keep yourself as healthy as possible.


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