An easy thing you can do to keep yourself and others healthy is to wash your hands. Germs can easily be spread from person to person or from person to things (like doorknobs and money) to person. Illnesses like colds, the flu, and infections from fecal matter can be very serious – protect yourself by washing your hands, well and often.
Good hand washing is more than running your hands under the water after using the bathroom:
- Use warm running water to wet your hands before applying soap.
- Apply soap and rub your hands together vigorously at least 15 seconds. Work up a lather with the soap. Scrub your wrists, between your fingers, under your nails, and around the tops and palms of your hands.
- Rinse with warm clean water.
- Dry your hands well with a clean towel, paper towel or air dryer. For even more protection, use the paper towel to turn the knob on the faucet and open the door.
Everyone should wash their hands:
- BEFORE preparing food, eating, caring for the sick, babies or the elderly, starting work or putting in contact lenses.
- BETWEEN handling raw foods and touching other food or kitchen utensils.
- AFTER using the bathroom, coughing or sneezing, handling raw foods, touching waste bins, touching your hair or face, handling animals or caring for others that are sick.
- Many times throughout the day – as you come in contact with things others have touched liked shopping carts, doorknobs and money.
A note about hand sanitizers:
- Studies have shown hand sanitizers were effective in reducing illnesses in households, elementary schools and university dorms. In a 2005 study of families, half were given hand sanitizer and half were told to wash their hands as they normally would. Those that used the gel had a 59% reduction in the spread of GI illnesses.
- Sanitizer gels should be kept out of the reach of children, along with other products that contain ethanol like perfumes and mouth wash. Always supervise the use of hand sanitizers by children.
- Call the Connecticut Poison Control Center at 800.222.1222 for any hand sanitizer ingestion greater than the amount normally used on your hands.
Learn and practice good hand washing techniques to stay healthy. Teach your kids to wash well and wash often to keep germs and illness away! For more information on proper hand washing, please download the hand washing brochure and poster under Helpful Resources below.