HOWTO wash your hands and beat the flu

Making Light's James D Macdonald has some sterling advice for avoiding the flu this season -- there's lots you can do, but nothing's more important than washing your hands.
Which brings us back to the main point of this post: How to Wash Your Hands. Wash your hands before and after preparing food, after using the toilet, and any time they are grossly contaminated. (In between, use pump-action alcohol-based hand-sanitizer.) The single best way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands. But not everyone knows how to do it. Here's how:

1) Turn on the water and get it to a temperature you like.
2) Lather up using soap. (Soap does not kill germs. A bar of soap is a great medium for growing germs. The surfactant action of soap helps the running water flush the germs away. That's how it works. It's purely mechanical. Antibacterial soap is a waste of time and money, and just helps breed antibiotic-resistant bugs.)
3) Rub your hands vigorously together, paying special attention to the fingernails, getting up onto the wrists, for as long as it takes you to sing one stanza of The Star Spangled Banner or two verses of Little Mattie Groves.
4) Rinse off the soap with the running water.
5) Dry your hands with a paper towel.
6) Use the expended paper towel to turn off the water.

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