Along with social distancing and using a mask, keeping your hands clean is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection.
Germs like coronavirus can spread when:
- You touch your face, which can transfer germs to your face or transfer them from your face to your hands
- You touch a surface and either get germs on your hand or leave germs behind on the surface
- You touch food with unclean hands
- You cough, sneeze, or blow your nose using your hands
Washing Your Hands
Practice with your kids or as a family to make sure everyone’s doing it correctly. Don’t touch your face with unclean hands.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold).
- Apply soap.
- Lather your hands with soap. Rub hands together. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice as a simple timer.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Can’t Wash Your Hands?
If you can’t wash your hands right away, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Although sanitizer can lower the number of germs on your hands, it’s not as effective as hand washing because:
- Sanitizers can’t get rid of all types of germs.
- Sanitizers don’t work as well when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
Make sure when using sanitizer that you rub all parts of your hands and fingers until the sanitizer dries. Use enough that you can get sanitizer all over the surface of your hands.
When Should I Wash My Hands?
It’s most important to wash your hands:
- Before touching your face
- Before, during, and after making food
- Before eating
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After touching surfaces you don’t know are clean
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing