Today, I’m standing here next to the sink in my office and I’m going to talk to you about how to properly wash your hands. That may seem kind of simple, but we’re hearing more and more in the press about the importance of more frequent and regular hand washing and there are good reasons for that. It’s been demonstrated by medical studies that more frequent or regular hand washing helps to decrease the spread of certain important infections: Influenza, common colds and we even learned with the epidemic of gastro-intestinal viruses on a cruise ship that more frequent hand washing helped to decrease the spread of that virus. Then in the past year, with H1N1 Flu and the “pandemic” and hysteria about an epidemic it’s become ever so much more important and brought to a new level of public awareness as part of normal and appropriate hygiene. The problem is, if you’re washing too frequently or not washing properly, you may actually may get a rash on your hands or an irritation. So I’m somebody who has to wash his hands twenty or thirty times a day because before and after every patient I have to wash my hands. So let me give you some simple guidelines about how washing your hands, even if its frequent washing, will not cause irritation. First of all, you have to choose the proper temperature water and to do that the water should be warm but not hot and not cold. Second of all, you should be washing your hands for only about ten or fifteen seconds, not for a minute, not for five minutes but ten or fifteen seconds is more than enough to do it. Also, you need to choose a soap that’s not too caustic. You want to make sure also, you’re not using a brush or a wash cloth which could further irritate your skin. Number five, when you dry your hands make sure you pat your hands dry- don’t rub, because rubbing just further causes irritation. And the last and sixth most important part is, how often do you wash your hands? Well, I have to wash my hands frequently because of what I do. Most people wash according to a conventional schedule of hygiene and eating meals, but you don’t need to wash your hands every time you shake hands with somebody or every time you touch a door knob. Just use your judgment, moderation and this way you’ll avoid and irritation from appropriate hygiene that’ll help prevent the spread of germs that cause the flu and the common cold.