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How Often Should You Wash Your Hands?

With the cold weather officially here, illness is spreading quickly through schools and office environments. We all know washing your hands is important, but how often should you do it to keep germs and infection at bay?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you should wash your hands during the following times:

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  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • 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.

The Proper Way to Wash Your Hands

Did you know that you should be scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds? In order to properly prevent the spread of illness, follow the below steps in order to effectively wash your hands.

  1. Wet your hands with clean water. (Hint: don’t use really hot water, you may burn your hands.)
  2. Lather your hands with soap. Don’t just get the palms of your hands, make sure to lather the backs of your hands and in between your fingers.
  3. Scrub your whole hand (including under your fingernails) for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands with clean water.
  5. Dry them using a clean towel. If one is not available, let them air dry.

Is Hand Sanitizer Effective Against Germs?

Hand sanitizer may be used when clean water and soap is not available. Read the label to make sure it has at least 60% alcohol content. While this is not effective against all types of bacteria, it is an acceptable alternative.