The way you wash could make you sick

If someone in your household has been sick lately, you're not alone.

This is the time of year when all kinds of illnesses, from the common cold to pneumonia, are going around.

Many of those illnesses are spread through the items we frequently touch.

KHQA's Melissa Shriver tested the bacteria on two common items...a remote control and a cell phone...and discovered all kinds of fungus, mold and contaminants.

She discovered it's a good idea to clean frequently-touched surfaces, such as light switches and doorknobs, to cut down on germs that can make you sick.

She also discovered that the *way* you wash your hands could be making you sick.

Keith Griffeth is an Infection Preventionist with Hannibal Regional Hospital.

Griffeth said, "No matter how dirty your environment is, if you hand-wash, it's a good way to prevent infection."

He says many times we don't do a good job sanitizing our hands, which makes us susceptible to diseases, bacteria and viruses left behind on our hands. And to prove it...we performed a little experiment.

Griffeth said, "We have you put your gloves on and then apply paint just like a hand sanitizer."

I didn't look down at the gloves as I rubbed my hands together. When I finished, it was apparent I had some work to do.

I had a lot of spots I missed, so what does this say about me?

Griffeth said, "It says you're an average hand washer. Places on your hand need more attention. You really need to think about the ends of your fingers and in between your fingers because those areas are in contact when people pick things up."

And that means the places you miss on your hands now...could catch up with you you transmit the bacteria onto your eyes, mouth or light switches you'll touch later.

Here is the proper and most effective way to wash your hands.

First, wet them. Then apply the soap...any soap is fine.....and then rub the soap on the top and back of your between the fingers and under your finger nails. You should scrub your hands as long as it takes you to say your ABCs. Then rinse..using warm or cool water. Water that's too hot can cause your hands to become dry.

Here's one important step. Turn off the faucet using a paper towel...remember your dirty hands turned it on...your clean hands shouldn't be contaminated again.

Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and any other time your hands become dirty while working with food. Those are the ways you can transport e-coli, which can cause gastro-intestinal illnesses.

Here's something you may not know about hand sanitizer. When you place hand sanitizer on your hand, even though your hands still feel wet, you only have 5 to 10 seconds before the actual sanitizer evaporates. That means you have to work fast while the alcohol is still active.