Handwashing for Health
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Washing hands with soap and clean, warm, running water for 20 seconds is the best way. However, if soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands.
Washing Your Hands with Soap and Water
- Wet your hands with clean, warm, running water and apply soap.
- Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds, the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
- Use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
How to Clean Hands Using an Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer
- Use an all-natural hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective. Warning: For external use only. Supervise use by children.
- Apply sanitizer to the palm of your hand.
- Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.
When Should Hands Be Washed?
- Whenever they look dirty.
- Before and after preparing and eating food, especially before handling ready to eat foods and before and after handling raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- After going to the bathroom and after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom.
- Before and after tending to someone who is sick or being near someone who is sick.
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- After handling an animal or animal waste.
- After handling garbage.
- Before and after treating a cut or wound.
- After touching handrails, doorknobs, telephones and other public surfaces.
Other Ways to Avoid Spreading Germs
Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Do not put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth.
University of Texas researchers found that more than half of the people surveyed thought they could catch a cold by not wearing a coat in the winter or by going outside with wet hair. Almost 60 percent believed chilly weather could cause a cold. Less than 10 percent correctly responded that a virus is required to transmit a cold from person to person.
Cold Doesn't Cause Colds: Germs Do
The truth is that temperature does not cause colds. Colds are caused by viruses transmitted from person to person. The best way to keep from getting a cold is to wash your hands frequently so you prevent the spread of the virus through contact. Science has found no evidence that cold temperatures can give you the common cold.
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