Celebrate the day by washing your hands!

Today is Global Handwashing Day. The simple act of washing our hands is something most of us do every day without much thought.

And while washing our hands may seem like a given, it’s often not done properly. Washing our hands is one of the most effective ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. And while a lot is at stake (everything from influenza to E. coli can be spread through germs on hands), several studies show Americans are lax about lathering up.

Mothers everywhere would be horrified by a 2010 study for the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute. Researchers who spied on people using public restrooms found about 23 percent of men didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. Women were cleaner, with 7 percent of those spied skipping this basic step of good hygiene, according to the study. Men were at their worst at Atlanta’s Turner Field, where only 65 percent washed their hands after using the bathroom.

Many people also simply don’t spend enough time washing their hands. A quick splash of water is enough.

Here’s Elmo showing us how it’s done.

Here on some more tips on the right way to wash your hands:

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.

Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

When to wash your hands

Before, during, and after preparing food

Before eating food

After using the toilet

After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

Before and after caring for someone who is sick

After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

After touching an animal or animal waste

After touching garbage

Before and after treating a cut or wound

Source: CDC

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