Hand washing frequently is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. You should always wash your hands, especially during the cold and flu (influenza) season.
According to the CDC, hand washing is an easy way to prevent infection. See below for a good rule of thumb of when to wash your hands:
- Before eating food
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the restroom
- After changing diapers
- After cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Keep in mind as you touch people, surfaces, and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria and viruses.
The correct way to wash your hands:
- 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.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.