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Healthy Habit #2: Wash Hands Often

One of the most important healthy habits to prevent the spread of germs is to clean your hands.  Our hands can carry germs, so it is important to wash them often, even if they don't look dirty.


When to Wash Your Hands

Make sure to clean your hands before and after:


  • Using the bathroom or changing diapers
  • Eating
  • Cooking or serving food
  • Treating a cut or wound
  • Contact with a sick person
  • Putting on and removing protective equipment like a face mask


Clean your hands after these actions:


  • Coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • Touching another person's hands or touching an animal or pet
  • Handling garbage
  • Touching frequently touched areas (doorknobs) or contaminated items (dirty laundry or dishes).


How to Wash Hands with Soap and Water

  1. Wet hands and apply soap.
  2. Rub hands for at least 20 seconds. Scrub all surfaces.
  3. Rinse hands.
  4. Dry hands with a clean cloth or paper towel. If in a public place, use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. Then, throw in the trash.


*When helping a child, wash their hands first, and then your own.


How to Clean Hands with Hand Sanitizer

  1. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available and if your hands do not look dirty. To be effective, hand sanitizer must have at least 60% alcohol content.
  2. Apply hand sanitizer to both hands.
  3. Rub hands covering all surfaces until dry. If your hands dry before 10 seconds you did not use enough. Apply more and repeat.


*Although not as effective as washing one's hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer, pre-moistened cleansing towelettes with at least 60% alcohol content can be an alternative.


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