Frequent hand washing can reduce your risk of spreading or contracting bacteria and viruses that cause colds and the flu. You should wash your hands often throughout the day and especially

  • after sneezing or blowing your nose or helping a child blow his/her nose
  • after being in contact with someone who is ill
  • after using the bathroom
  • before preparing and eating food
  • before treating a cut or wound
  • after changing a diaper or helping a child use the bathroom
  • after handling raw meats, poultry, or eggs

An alcohol-based hand cleaner can also be used if soap and water are not available. The alcohol in the cleaner kills germs that cause the flu.

Steps for Proper Hand Washing

  1. Wet your hands with warm water.
  2. Add soap and rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds, about as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song. Make sure to scrub all surfaces of your hands and fingers, including the fingernails.
  3. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. Dry with a clean paper towel.
  5. Turn off the faucet with a paper towel.

Steps for Using Hand Sanitizers

  1. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  2. Put enough of the cleaner to cover all surfaces of your hands on the palm of one hand.
  3. Rub hands, covering all surfaces of hands and fingers, until dry.