Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Hand-washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — a cleanser that doesn’t require water. Find out when and how to wash your hands properly.
When to wash your hands…
As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. In turn, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.
Always wash your hands before:
• Preparing food or eating
• Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
• Inserting or removing contact lenses
Always wash your hands after:
• Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
• Using the toilet or changing a diaper
• Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes, or waste
• Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
• Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
• Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
• In addition, wash your hands whenever they look dirty.
How to wash your hands…
It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these
• Wet your hands with very warm running water.
• Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
• Lather well.
• Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
• Rinse well.
• Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
• If possible, use your towel to turn off the faucet.