Follow These Hand Hygiene Tips to Help Keep Yourself and Others Safe During a Pandemic.
By: Katarina Knoff
Handwashing is the number one way to stop the spread of viruses, and COVID-19 is no exception. However, the unfortunate truth is that 95% of people fail to wash their hands long enough to kill harmful bacteria, according to a study published in LiveScience. During this ongoing global crisis, properly washing your hands is a crucial step to stop the spread of the virus and to protect yourself and those around you.
Here are the recommended steps to wash and sanitize your hands. When done correctly, both strategies are very effective in stopping the spread of bacteria.
Steps to Properly Wash Hands
- Wet hands with running water-This can be any temperature, both warm and cold water will kill viruses as long as you use soap.
- Soap– Apply a generous amount of soap all over your hands, including the backs and fingertips.
- Scrub and Lather Hands- Rub your hands and wash for a minimum of 20 seconds. Don’t forget to clean under fingernails and jewelry. Take special care to wash all fingertips because people often put their fingers on their eyes, nose and mouth, which is how the virus spreads.
- Rinse Hands- Return both hands to running water and wash off the soap.
- Dry Hands– Completely dry away all water from your hands. Germs spread easier from wet skin to dry skin, so make sure there is no extra moisture. Disposable towels and air dryers are preferred to ordinary hand towels to avoid spreading germs.
Sometimes when you are out and about, sanitizing hands can be a great alternative if you do not have access to a sink. It is recommended to use a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub it into your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure full coverage.
When to Wash or Sanitize Your Hands
- After returning home from any public outing, including grocery stores, work, school, being outside, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
- Immediately after using the restroom.
- After shaking hands during flu season and virus outbreaks.
- Throughout the food preparation process. This includes before, during and after preparing food (raw food especially).
- Before eating anything
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea.
- Before and after treating a cut or wound.
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste.
- After handling pet food or pet treats.
- After touching garbage.
- After putting on your shoes.
- After using public computers, touching public tables and countertops, cash and coins, other people’s phones, etc.
For more information on COVID-19 and how Newman Regional Health is addressing the needs of the community, please visit the Covid-19 resource page.