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Washing your hands properly

Washing your hands regularly is important for your health. It can help prevent viral and bacterial infection – but only if you wash your hands properly.

Bacteria and viruses are all around us. Most of them won’t harm us because we’re immune. But there are germs that can make us sick. Many infectious diseases such as the flu or stomach bugs are transmitted via the hands, with the bacteria or virus getting into the body when we touch our mouth, eyes or nose. Washing your hands properly on a regular basis reduces the number of germs. But because many people don’t do this correctly, they’re still left with germs on their hands.

Important points
You don’t have to wash your hands every time you touch someone or something. It’s much more important to make absolutely sure you wash them in certain situations, for example after going to the toilet, when you get home, and before and after meals. You should also wash your hands before and after cooking, especially if you’re preparing raw meat. To avoid infecting other people it’s important to wash the germs away if you already have a cold, are sneezing frequently, coughing or blowing your nose.

Most people don’t wash their hands carefully or thoroughly enough. It takes time to wash your hands properly: 20 to 30 seconds. Briefly running water on them isn’t sufficient. To keep your hands as germ-free as possible you should wash them with soap (ideally liquid soap). According to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, the main thing is to get the right combination of applying soap, rubbing, rinsing and drying.

How to wash your hands properly
  • Wet your hands under running water.
  • Lather with soap, covering all parts of your hands.
  • Rub and clean the palms and backs of your hands all the way to the wrists.
  • Make sure to clean between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel.
National Flu Vaccination Day on 9 November 2018
Washing your hands regularly is particularly important during flu season. If you want to stay one step ahead of the flu, we recommend that you also get a flu shot. National Flu Vaccination Day will take place for the fifteenth time on 9 November 2018. On that day, you can get a flu shot for the recommended price of 30 francs. For more information about the National Flu Vaccination Day 2018 and a list of all participating doctors and pharmacies, please visit the website “Vaccinate Against the Flu” of the Federal Office of Public Health.

If you have any further questions about your health, you can ask the doctors and medical staff at the sante24 health advice helpline for expert advice – free of charge, 24 hours a day. On request, sante24 can also make a doctor’s appointment for you. Phone +41 (0)44 404 86 86. You can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. You decide in each case whether you want to share the information you have entered in SymptomCheck with sante24.