It's probably not a good idea to think too hard about all of the germs, viruses, grime and gunk on our hands. Fortunately, our skin -- when unbroken -- keeps microscopic troublemakers at bay. But even when they haven't gained entry into your body, viruses don't mind waiting around to see if an opportunity presents itself. Maybe you'll nick a finger or give the virus a lift to a better location, like onto a bottle of ketchup in a restaurant, where it can catch a ride on a new host.
Swine flu virus -- like other flu viruses -- remains transmittable up to eight hours outside the human body. This means your co-worker, entering the workplace at nine in the morning, can pass the virus on to the door handle, which could then be passed on to your hands as you leave the building at the end of the day.
Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for about 20 seconds, especially when you're interacting with others, spending time in public places or hanging around anyone who has flulike symptoms. You may also use alcohol-based germicides, as long as you rub your hands together until they're dry.
Whether you're avoiding swine flu or you already have it, washing your hands frequently is the best way to contain the spread of swine flu.
But I don't nick my fingers, so why worry if my virus-proof skin has viruses on it? Keep reading to find out.