You've heard it over and over, starting from your parents: "Wash your hands."
But if you knew why it's so important, handwashing would always be on the top of your list of ways to stay healthy, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Scientists believe most people get colds and other illnesses by touching a sick person or by touching something a sick person touched.
All you have to do to protect yourself is wash your hands -- after you go to the bathroom, after you touch a cut or sore and and always before you touch food.
Wash your hands front and back and between the fingers. Soap up your wrists, too. And don't forget your fingernails. A good nail brush does the best job there.
Health Tip: Douching Isn't Recommended
Douching is a method of cleansing the female genitalia with a fluid mixture, often of water.
According to the U.S. National Women's Health Information Center, douching is generally not recommended by doctors, as it can adversely affect the body's natural balance of bacteria.
The agency offers these additional potential side effects of douching:
* Irritation of the vagina. * An infection called bacterial vaginosis. * Increased risk of sexually transmitted disease or pelvic inflammatory disease. * Vaginal infections that could spread to other parts of the female reproductive system.