Protect yourself from the cold, flu and more.
WHY IS HANDWASHING IMPORTANT?
Touching your mouth, eyes, nose and ears with dirty hands can spread germs. Keeping hands clean is easy to do, and is one of the best ways to protect yourself and to prevent the spread of infection and illness, such as cold or flu, from one person to another.
WHEN SHOULD I WASH MY HANDS?
- 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 food, or animal waste
- After touching garbage
HOW DO I PROPERLY WASH MY HANDS?
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off water, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the back 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.
- Turn off the faucet and open the bathroom door with a clean towel to make sure you don’t contaminate your clean hands.
WHAT DO I DO IF I DON’T HAVE SOAP AND CLEAN RUNNING WATER?
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some cases, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
How do you use hand sanitizers?
- Apply sanitizer to the palm of one hand
- Rub your hands together
- Rub the sanitizer over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until hands are completely dry.
Hand sanitizers may not be effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy; soap and water would be better in this case.
Jasmine Corse, PharmD Candidate 2016
Adapted from Center for Disease Control and Prevention “Handwashing” http://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/
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