National Hand Washing Week

The best way to prevent illnesses is to wash your hands frequently.

Hand washing reduces illness-causing germs

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick is by washing your hands.

You should wash your hands often to stay healthy, especially during key times when you’re likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick with vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating an open wound
  • After using the restroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up after a child who has used the restroom
  • 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 (ie, taking out the trash)
  • After using your cell phone 

Washing your hands the right way:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. (Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end, twice).
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean paper towel. Turn off the running water with the paper towel.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs, but if you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Hand sanitizers:

  • Do not get rid of all types of germs
  • May not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy
  • Do not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals
  • May be more drying to your hands than using soap and water

How to use:

  1. Apply the hand sanitizer to the palm of one hand
  2. Rub your hands together
  3. Rub the sanitizer over all of the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

The best way to keep illness-causing germs at bay is to wash your hands frequently and when that’s not an option, use hand sanitizer. Stay healthy!