Local doctors encourage people to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs and sickness

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BARTONVILLE, Ill. (WMBD) — Thursday, Oct. 15 is Global Handwashing Day, and health experts are using the day to emphasize why it’s important to practice proper hygiene.

The Center for Disease Control said keeping hands clean can prevent one in five respiratory infections, like a cold or the flu.

Dr. Omomengbe Oni, a physician with UnityPoint Health, said it a habit that can make a difference, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The viruses have an outer layer that’s inactivated actually by soap, so basically once you wash your hands with soap, you just killed the virus, so you’re not able to spread it anywhere else,” said Oni.

She said it can help prevent the spread of germs and keep you from getting sick.

“When you touch things throughout the day constantly and then you’re also constantly touching your face, touching your eyes and your mouth, what you’re doing is you’re introducing germs into the body through those avenues,” said Oni.

Oni said washing your hands should be a regular part of your routine and should be encouraged from a young age.

“It’s a good habit to kind of teach our kids to do, make it sort of just the status quo and not only when we’re trying to respond or react to something,” said Oni.

She said the best way to wash your hands is with soap and warm water. If you don’t have access to those and your hands aren’t visibly dirty, she said an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will also work.

UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine is located at 1506 W. Garfield Avenue in Bartonville.

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