Hand Washing: It’s Easy as 1-2-3
Hand washing is a simple thing and it’s the best way to prevent infection and illness.
Clean hands prevent infections. Keeping hands clean prevents illness at home, at school, and at work. Hand hygiene practices are key prevention tools in healthcare settings, in daycare facilities, in schools and public institutions and for the safety of our food.
At home, hand washing can prevent infection and illness from spreading from family member to family member and, sometimes, throughout a community. In the home, the basic rule is to wash hands before preparing food and after handling uncooked meat and poultry, before eating, after changing diapers, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose into a tissue, and after using the bathroom.
Wash Your Hands: The Right Way
When washing hands with soap and water:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
- Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? - Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through to a friend.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and rub to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast-acting.
When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- Apply product to the palm of one hand
- Rub hands together
- Rub product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry
Hand washing doesn’t take much time or effort, but it offers great rewards in terms of preventing illness. Adopting this simple habit can play a major role in protecting your health.