How to Wash Your Hands

Proper hand washing helps prevent the spread of germs

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid sickness and prevent the transmission of germs, including the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus. Washing hands thoroughly with soap and clean water can be a crucial defense against diseases that spread easily from person-to-person, and keep you, your loved ones, and the community healthy as a result. However, hand washing is only effective when done correctly and consistently.

When Should You Wash Your Hands?

Hands should be washed often. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following are key times when hand washing is especially important to help prevent the spread of germs and viruses:

  • Before, during, and after food preparation

  • Before eating food

  • Before and after coming into contact with a sick person who has vomiting or has diarrhea

  • Before and after treating a cut or wound

  • After using the bathroom

  • After changing a diaper

  • After cleaning a child who has used the bathroom

  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

  • After coming in contact with an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

  • After touching pet food or pet treats

  • After handling garbage

If you don't have immediate access to soap and water in these circumstances, you should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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