Published on January 24, 2017

Clean Hands Save Lives

CDC: When and How to Wash Your Hands
Mayo Clinic: Hand Washing Do’s and Don’ts

Handwashing Graphic.

It’s the time of year where everyone you come across has a running nose, cough or scratchy throat. The most important step we can take in avoiding getting sick and spreading germs to others is to wash our hands.

This seems simple…and it is! All you need is soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

When to wash your hands

You touch a variety of surfaces, people and objects throughout the day. With this in mind, it’s important to wash your hands before and after different situations.

Always wash your hands before:

  • Preparing food or eating
  • Treating wounds, giving medicine, or caring for a sick or injured person
  • Inserting or removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:

  • Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
  • Using the toilet or changing a diaper
  • Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or waste
  • Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
  • Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
  • Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
  • Shaking hands with others

And as always, wash your hands whenever they are visibly dirty.

How to wash your hands

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

No Soap or running water?

Using soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs, but if those are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Apply the product to the palm of one hand and rub your hands together. Continue rubbing product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

At Johnston Health, or any hospital, it is important to reduce the spread of germs with patients, visitors and employees. We encourage everyone to follow these steps to lower the risk of spreading diseases. Our hospital has multiple locations to clean your hands and have masks available for those who want one. It’s also important to ask your nurse or doctor if they have washed their hands. Let’s all do our part to stay healthy.

Happy hand washing!

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