Sing 'Happy Birthday' during hand washing

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, May 27 (UPI) -- There are many reminders to wash hands during flu season, but a gas station pump handle or TV remote are always prime germ locations, a U.S. expert says.

Barbara Quiram of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and director of the USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness says that when it comes to fighting germs, people are more likely to do what is convenient.


While there are plenty of hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes and sprays, none compare to a 20-second scrub with soap and water, Quiram says.

"Hand sanitizer is great because you can keep it in your pocket, carry it in your purse and even keep it in a desk drawer or your car," Quiram says in a statement.

Quiram says hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including the common cold, staph infections and the flu.

Combine water, soap and friction -- for as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice, or at least 20 seconds and germs won't see their next birthday, Quiram says.


However, when soap and water are unavailable, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be substituted.

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