Have You Washed Your Hands Today?
The most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. By frequently washing your hands you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, from contaminated surfaces, or from animals and animal waste. When you do not wash your hands frequently you pick up germs from other sources and then you infect yourself when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with the cold or flu virus. You can also spread germs directly to others or onto surfaces that other people touch, and before you know it, everybody around you is getting sick.
The important thing to remember is that, in addition to colds, some pretty serious diseases – like hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea – can easily be reduced or possibly avoided if people make a habit of washing their hands.
It is especially important to wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after you prepare food.
- Before you eat, and after you use the bathroom.
- After handling animals or animal waste.
- When your hands are dirty.
- More frequently when someone in your home is sick.
- After sneezing in hands or blowing your nose.
What is the correct way to wash your hands?
- First wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap.
- Next rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.
It is estimated that one out of three people do not wash their hands after using the restroom. So these tips are also important when you are out in public. If everyone took the time to wash his or her hands several times a day (especially after using the restroom) we could cut down on the occurrence of the common cold.
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