The simple act of washing your hands is a big deal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. It takes just 20 seconds or the time it might take to you to hum the Happy Birthday song twice. Keeping hands clean helps prevent the spread of germs, like Covid 19 and the flu.
How Germs Spread
Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections from one person to the next. Germs can be spread from other people or surfaces when you:
- Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands.
- Touch a contaminated surface or objects.
- Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects.
Key Times to Wash Hands
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing foods.
- Before and after eating food.
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting and diarrhea.
- Before and after treating a cut or a wound.
- After using the toilet.
- After changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has just used the toilet.
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- After handling pet foods or pet treats.
- After touching garbage.