How to Wash Your Hands

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With all the talk about viruses such as influenza and Covid-19 (coronavirus), it seems like a good time to remind readers of the simplest way to help keep yourself and others healthy: wash your hands.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Washing your hands often and correctly can prevent you from getting and spreading germs.


The CDC shares the key times you are likely to get and spread germs are:

• Before, during, and after preparing food
• Before eating food
• Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
• 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



The CDC also recommends the following five steps to wash your hands the right way:

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), 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. Need a timer? 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 towel or air dry them.


If soap and water are not available, you can use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.


For more information on hand washing, visit CDC’s Hand washing website or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.