Hand Hygiene

You probably think everyone washes their hands — it’s common sense, right? Surprisingly, just 75% of adult females and 58% of adult males wash their hands appropriately, according to a 2006 study cited by the Minnesota Department of Health. Perhaps not surprisingly, among grade schoolers just 33% of girls and 8% of boys soaped up. During cold and flu season it’s particularly important to help prevent the spread of germs. The Centers for Disease Control recommends washing your hands:

  • Before and after preparing food or eating
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning a child who’s used the toilet
  • Before and after tending to someone who’s sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling an animal or animal waste
  • After handling garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.

And don’t forget proper technique:

  • Wet your hands with clean, very warm water and apply soap
  • Rub your hands together and clean all surfaces
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds
  • Rinse hands thoroughly under running water
  • Dry your hands (use a paper towel when turning off a faucet and touching the door handle of public restrooms)
  • If soap and water are unavailable, alcohol–based hand sanitizers will kill most germs.

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