by Steven Dina, M.D., Medical Director, Univera Healthcare

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the number one way to stop the spread of germs is through proper handwashing with soap and water, and that lathering for about 20 seconds has the most impact. Washing hands is a simple activity that we do multiple times each day, usually without even thinking about the mechanics of it.

A 2013 study by Michigan State University researchers, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, found that people are only washing their hands, on average, for about 6 seconds, which is not long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections. Additional findings include that 33 percent of the people didn’t use soap and 10 percent didn’t wash their hands at all. On a positive note, the study found that people were more likely to wash their hands if a sign encouraging them to do so was present.

Remember to wash your hands properly by lathering with soap and water for 20 seconds. And, model this behavior for your kids so they develop this healthy habit early in life.

See a video portraying proper handwashing. Also, check out another great video for teaching kids why hand- washing is so important!