OK, so you are washing your hands often, covering your mouth when you cough, and everything else your mom taught you wards off (or contains!) those germs…but is that enough?
Get this: Even getting a manicure during flu season – -especially during the H1N1 (swine flu) scare can lead to getting sick. However, according to Dr. Kenneth Gerenraich (aka Dr. G, founder of Dr. G’s antimicrobial products), there are ways to protect yourself.
1. Ask your technician if they have washed their hands. Imagine a doctor not washing his hands before touching a patient! However it’s not just simply about washing hands; it’s the technique and time a person employs while washing that matters. “While in school training to be a doctor, I learned to sing happy birthday at the proper speed to determine the length of time to wash. I also learned to wash underneath my nails, between my fingers, (both favorite hiding places for germs) and then dry thoroughly with a clean, dry towel. Once my hands are dry, I use the towel to turn off the water and then use it to open the door to exit the restroom. This is very important because we don’t know how the person before us washed or if they did at all,” Dr G. says.
Touching germs after washing recontaminates the hands before the technician or client even returns to the station or table. Although we and the technician should both ALWAYS do this before any salon service, unfortunately in real life it doesn’t happen this way. When proper hand washing is not readily available, a technician should use a sanitizer to clean her hands and her client’s hands prior to starting the service.
2. Use properly use hand sanitizer - Like hand washing, it’s how a person uses a sanitizer that makes the difference. Sanitizers only work where they touch. A sanitizer must cover all these locations and similar to happy birthday, the sanitizer must be rubbed on these areas for 15-20 seconds. It’s important to note that hands can be recontaminated during a procedure. If a technician or client sneezes, sanitize again. A customer can always ask a nail technician to use sanitizer before starting a service.
3. Ask the nail salon if they use antimicrobial products to clean their tables and implements. This translates to instruments as well. “All tools should be soaked in proper disinfection solutions, not just wiped off with a cloth. If there are germs are on the tip of an instrument and the technician is pushing cuticles back, then the germs are directly deposited under the epinychium. Used instruments should not touch clean instruments. Think about how a dentist puts contaminated or infected instruments on a separate tray,” Dr. G says.
Eeek…now, if you are like me, getting a salon service at least once a week – you should really take this seriously. Otherwise, beside your gunmetal polish, you may be bringing home a nasty surprise!