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Hand-Washing


Table of Contents


Hand-Washing

Hand-washing is a simple and effective way to help prevent diseases, such as colds, flu, and food poisoning.

When to wash your hands

Washing hands:

Wash your hands after:

Proper hand-washing

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following steps for hand-washing:

  • Wash your hands with running water and soap.
  • Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.
  • Pay special attention to your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
  • Leave the water running while you dry your hands on a paper towel.
  • Use the paper towel as a barrier between the faucet and your clean hands when you turn off the water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use gel hand sanitizers or alcohol-based hand wipes containing 60% to 90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol. Most supermarkets and drugstores carry these products. Carry one or both with you when you travel, and keep them in your car or purse.

    If using the gel sanitizer, rub your hands until the gel is dry. You don't need to use water. The alcohol in the gel kills the germs on your hands.


    Credits for Hand-Washing

    By Healthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
    Last Revised December 21, 2011

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