When & How to Wash Your Hands

August 29, 2017

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.When should you wash your hands?

girl wiping nose after sneezing

Before, during, and after preparing foodBefore eating foodBefore and after caring for someone who is sickBefore and after treating a cut or woundAfter using the toiletAfter changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toiletAfter blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezingAfter touching an animal, animal feed, or animal wasteAfter handling pet food or pet treatsAfter touching garbage

How should you wash your hands?

washing hands under running water

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. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

 

What should you do if you don’t have soap and clean, running water?

hand sanitizer

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals.

Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

How do you use hand sanitizers?

Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).Rub your hands together.Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

 Why? Read the science behind the recommendations.

Written on
August 29, 2017

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