Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer
Hand hygiene is an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of infections. The best way to keep your hands clean is with soap and water, but when you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is a good second best.
When to Wash Your Hands
From the CDC:
- Before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After you’ve been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people. Think door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.
- 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 waster
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Proper Handwashing Technique
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap.
- Lather your hands with the soap, getting the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. (Hum the “Happy Birthday” song to yourself twice through for a timer.)
- Rinse hands well with clean, running water.
- Dry hands with a clean towel, or air dry them.
- Read the ingredients and make sure the sanitizer is alcohol-based. You’ll want at least 60% alcohol, but ideally 70%.
- Use enough to adequately cover all the surfaces of your hands and between your fingers. The recommendation is a dollop the size of a quarter, but if you notice that your hands are dry and you haven’t got good coverage, do it again.