Keeping your hands clean is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection. Clean your hands after using the bathroom; after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing; before eating; when visiting someone who is sick; or whenever your hands are dirty.
Hand washing: Do it right!
Wash your hands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs 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. Wash your hands for the duration of these songs:
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them, and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet, and then throw it away.
Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer: Do it right!
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
- Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
Everyone should clean their hands.
If you haven’t seen your healthcare workers—or food service workers—clean their hands, ask them to do so. Also ask your visitors to clean their hands. This is one of the most important ways to prevent infection!