There’s a reason why around this time every year we see an abundance of hand washing literature. That’s because hand washing is the #1 defense against spreading germs and keeping healthy. It is important that we all do our part in limiting the spread of germs and diseases especially during Flu sason!
Everyday ways to prevent the spread of germs and disease:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- void touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, then wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Tip: Sing the alphabet or Happy Birthday twice while washing your hands to make sure it has been at least 20 seconds!
When should I wash my hands?
- 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 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 waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
How do I wash my 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. 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.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label. Some things to remember about sanitizer:
- Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
- Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
- Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
Article written by: Dasia Brown, Program Assistant, OSU Extension
Reviewed by: Pat Holmes, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension