When washing your hands doesn’t prevent sickness

September 28, 2010
Volume 07    |   Issue 39

As we approach flu season, the media will remind you again and again to wash your hands frequently. They say it will prevent the spread of germs. But washing your hands isn’t enough. What you do after you wash your hands determines whether or not you’re really protecting yourself.

When you wash your hands you decrease the number of bacteria on them, but this doesn’t mean they’re gone. If your hands are still damp, some of the bacteria remain and are more easily transferred from one surface to another through the moisture. After you wash your hands, you most likely dry your hands, right? Well, this can determine whether you’re going to spread the bacteria or prevent it.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology examined several different methods of hand drying. They wanted to know the effect each method had on transferring bacteria from hands to other surfaces. Their conclusions were surprising.

The researchers found that two methods can actually increase pathogenic bacteria. The two ways? The first was obvious: not drying your hands thoroughly after washing. But the second was a surprise. Using a conventional electric hand dryer, like the ones in public restrooms that blow hot air, can encourage the spread of bacteria.

Continued Below...

Boost Your Nitric Oxide Levels With L-Arginine, Right? Wrong!

Why Arginine Is Nearly Useless For People Over 40... Plus What MIT Researchers Say You Should Be Doing Instead

Click Here To Learn More

What happens when you rub your hands together during the drying process, like many people do when using a hot air dryer? And like I used to do before I read this study? Some of the bacteria that live in the upper layers of the skin migrate to the surface where, added to any remaining bacteria, they can move from one surface to another.

The most effective method of keeping bacteria in check? Either dry your hands with paper towels or use electric hand dryers without rubbing your hands together. Before you stop, make sure your hands are dry, not damp.

It’s important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent pathogenic bacteria — and viruses — from contaminating you or others. But it’s just as important to dry them well with paper towels.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Wiley — Blackwell (2010, September 7). Is hand washing enough to stop the spread of disease? ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 8, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/09/100907071353.htm.

Free Report Reveals
How to Make Your Supplements Work Even Better.

Two powerful yet inexpensive nutrients are proven to have miraculous benefits.

Find out in your copy of How to Halt Cancer, Memory Loss, and Diabetes for Just Pennies a Day.

You'll get instant access when you sign up for Women's Health Letter. This free service brings you insider information on the latest nutrient breakthroughs.

Connect With Dr. Janet Zand

Connect with Dr. Janet Zand on the Advanced Bionutritionals Facebook Page for her latest advice on your most pressing health concerns, breakthrough developments in women's health, her favorite supplements, vitamins, minerals, and herbs, special offers, and more.

Dr. Zand's Favorites
Find out about Dr. Zand's favorite vitamins, minerals, and herbs
Doctor's Favorites

View Vitamins & Supplements