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Wash Hands to Stay Healthy

Most of us know to wash our hands before eating or after handling garbage, but are you washing the correct way?  What about those not-so-obvious places where germs can hide?  Here are some things to remember when it comes to washing hands and avoiding bacteria.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the most important steps in stopping the spread of disease is washing hands with soap and clean running water.  To properly wash hands, wet them first and apply soap.  Lather the soap by scrubbing palms, the backs of hands and under fingernails.  Rinse well and dry thoroughly.

Soap and running water aren't always available, so carry antibacterial gel as a backup.  It doesn't kill all germs, however, so don't use it exclusively.  The CDC recommends using a gel with at least 60 percent alcohol.  When using antibacterial gel, rub hands together to spread the gel over palms and fingers until skin is dry.

Did you know that Cold and Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to 18 hours.  To reduce the amount of germs you come into contact with in public, hand-sanitizing wipes are a good option.  Use them to clean shopping cart handles, door knobs, elevator buttons and restaurants and counter-tops.  All ranked high on the list of places where bacteria reside.

Wash Your Hands

Handwashing is easy to do and it's one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings—from your home and workplace to child care facilities and hospitals. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.

Photo: Washing hands with soap and water.Learn more about when and how to wash your hands.

When should you wash your hands?
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage


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