Bacteria and germs are all around us and live on every surface we touch. They can cause influenza and other common infections. The good news is there’s an easy way to protect yourself from germs: hand-washing. The best way to prevent the spread of germs that can cause influenza and other infections is by washing your hands. Whether at school, work, home or in public, it is important to be mindful of what you touch and wash your hands.
It can be easy to forget what it takes to wash well. And if you’re in a rush, it’s easy to skimp on your efforts.
How to wash your hands
Here are a few tips to clean up your hand-washing skills:
- Scrub your hands together for 20 seconds using warm water. Cold water does not remove germs and oils as well as warm water. Oils on your hand can hold bacteria and germs.
- Sing the “ABCs” song twice to be sure you scrub long enough. The scrubbing motion with soap removes the germs.
Download a flyer about proper hand-washing technique to post in your home or office as a reminder.
When to wash your hands
There are certain times that it’s extra important to wash hands to avoid putting germs in your body or sharing your germs with others:
- Before you eat
- After you sneeze or blow your nose
- After you play or are in a public place
- After you use the bathroom
Other ways to stop the spread of germs
While hand-washing is a great defense, other actions can help prevent the spread of germs:
- Avoid close contact with other people and crowds
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects
Read our blogs and watch videos to learn more about healthy hands:
- Healthy Hands Part I: The 5 Ws can help your kids avoid germs and illness
- Healthy Hands Part II: Soap and sanitizer