What’s the best way to stay healthy? By eating a balanced diet? Going for a daily jog? Drinking lots of water? All of the above! And yet, there’s one vital and easy-to-adopt habit missing from this list: washing your hands.

As simple as it may seem, washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the germs that can make you sick. That’s because most of the germs we are exposed to reach us through our hands, not by air.

Using soap and water as well as a hand sanitizer that acts instantly on contact are our best weapons of defense in the fight against infections.

(Keep in mind that when hands are visibly dirty, they should be washed in soapy water.) Think for a moment of all the things you touch on a daily basis. Now think about the fact that dozens — if not hundreds — of people touched them before you did. For most of us, this list can be pretty long: computer mouse, coffee maker, door handles, elevator and photocopier buttons, etc. Touching these and other everyday objects exposes us to thousands of germs that have been transmitted by other people. Were their hands clean? It’s hard to know.

Routine and frequent hand washing removes the germs that we are exposed on a daily basis and prevents us from spreading them even further.

What if you don’t always have access to soap and water? Keep hand sanitizer on hand. Hand sanitizer can neutralize 99.99% of the most common germs that can make us sick. Simply place a small amount – roughly the size of your thumbnail – in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together vigorously until they are dry (about 15 seconds). No rinsing or towel needed.

So continue to be active, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and adopt other healthy habits. But most of all, don’t forget to practice good hand hygiene! After all, washing hands with soap and water when they are visibly dirty and using hand sanitizer to neutralize germs are keys to staying healthy!