One Physician's Secret to Healthy Living: The Answer Will Shock You

I want to let you all in on a secret. The following question shows up on physician board exams all across the US in one form or another every year - How do I avoid getting sick?

The secret to this is something we’ve known for a long time and it comes down to 3 simple words that most people ignore repeatedly throughout the day over and over:

WASH YOUR HANDS

That’s the single most important act you can do to prevent illness. Wash your hands after touching someone else. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Wash your hands before meals. Wash your hands after touching a surface that the public touches like the handrail to an escalator (EWWWW, those things seriously gross me out). Wash your hands after getting within 10 feet of a toddler. Wash your hands when you touch money. Wash your hands when you go to the gym and touch all the weights and machines that have been touched by lots of sweaty people and are never wiped down. Wash your hands after borrowing a pen. Wash your hands after petting a cat. Wash your hands after cleaning up a crime scene. Wash your hands after looking at a toddler. Wash your hands after opening a door.

In fact…I think I’m going to go wash my hands right now…just in case…

In general, if you have to stop and wonder to yourself, “Self, should I wash my hands right now?” The answer is always yes! (Unless of course you are holding an adorable little baby puppy out over the Grand Canyon. In this case, do not wash your hands immediately. First put the puppy down, and then proceed to wash your hands!)

Other methods, like wearing a face mask, Himalayan Salt lamps, zinc, vitamins, air purifiers, essential oils, voodoo spells, healing crystals, lemon water, cayenne pepper, palo santo cleansing, Windex, ginger tea, garlic, echinacea, etc. just don’t work as well. They can be great in conjunction, but if you only learn one thing today that you are going to apply for the rest of your life, let it be this:

WASH YOUR HANDS!