Dear Doctor Wallace:

I’d like to remind all of my fellow teenagers (and all of your other readers) that the best way to avoid catching any COVID-19 germs or the flu is to wash one’s hands frequently, especially before eating. But don’t forget that it’s also important to not touch one’s hands or fingers to the mouth, eyes or nostrils. Our whole family has become pretty compulsive about hand-washing, so I think about this topic every day, and even though we should all know this by now, I feel it’s important to have a teen remind fellow teens to be careful and stay vigilant. That’s why I am writing to you about this subject today!

Please allow me to inform your readers that proper hand-washing techniques do not actually require warm water! Any temperature of water is fine, and any soap will do the job. We don’t need some special antibacterial soap that costs a lot more money than a regular bar of soap. Rubbing soapy hands for a minimum of 20 seconds is necessary to gain the protection we all seek. It’s the friction of rubbing the hands together that is most important! How do I know this? Well, my mom’s best friend is a nurse, and she came over to our house a few months ago to tell us everything she knew about the dangers of the COVID-19 virus and how we can best protect ourselves from catching it.

Health professionals agree that proper hand-washing is the best preventative medicine for children, teens and adults. Besides COVID-19, colds and flu, other ailments, including infections and diarrhea, are easily transmitted to and from human hands! This is so gross! We will soon be in the midst of our normal flu season on top of everything else, so, fellow teens, be careful!

— An Informed and Hygienic Teen, via email

Dear Informed And Hygienic Teen: Thank you for your letter. The fact that it is primarily directed at your fellow teens makes sense. Since most young people are at a low risk for serious illness, there could be a subconscious lack of urgency for some teens. Your letter covers the common sense that many forms of media have been explaining for months now, but I truly commend you for your concern and how seriously you’re taking health and hygiene these days.

I’m happy to honor your request, and I hope that many other young people will follow in your footsteps in taking this pandemic seriously.

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