Think washing your hands is as easy as 1-2-3? Think again! Getting them properly cleaned is an 12-step, 60-second, finger-interlacing and rotational rubbing extravaganza, according to the World Health Organization.
In new guidance on hand hygiene, the WHO said its protocol to prevent “pathways of germ transmission” from spreading disease is the most effective, hands down.
Of course, that guidance also washed in some controversy. The Wall Street Journal noted that people already struggle to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's regimen, which is only three steps and takes half the time. The CDC conceded its hand-cleaning method isn't as elaborate as the WHO's, but said both groups are essentially sending the same message.
The whole point is “Just do it!” said self-proclaimed “champion handwasher” Dr. Will Sawyer. He's a family physician in Ohio and creator of the Henry the Hand Foundation, which helps businesses and schools promote hand hygiene. Proper handwashing is “about technique, not time,” he said.
That gives the WHO and its rigorous chart a slight advantage over the CDC in the hand-washing war. However, both organizations fall short in one aspect, Sawyer said. He advocates bringing back the nail brush to scour out hidden germs. It's one of the “the most forgotten tools for handwashing,” he said.