Good Hand Hygiene is Critical!
Keeping your hands clean is important year-round, but it’s even more important recently. Here are some tips from the CDC to make sure you’re doing this very basic maneuver correctly.
Wash Your Hands Often
Soap, water and 20 seconds of your time can help stop the spread of colds, flu and other diseases.
Why hands are such “hot spots” for germs and the spread of disease1
- People often touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without realizing it.
- Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can even multiply in some foods or drinks.
- Unwashed hands can transfer germs to door knobs, toys, and other common surfaces, and are then transferred to another person’s hands.
Proper handwashing techniques2
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice if that helps to time yourself.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or with an air dryer.
- If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer3 that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they are dry. Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations, but be aware that4:
Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
- Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
- Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals like pesticides and heavy metals.
When should hands be washed5?
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
During the COVID-19 pandemic6, you should also wash your hands:
- After you have been in public and touched an item or surface frequently touched by others, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cash registers/screens, etc.
- Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.And make it a point to wash your hands several times a day!
1-3, 5. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
4, 6. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html