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Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections and protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn a good hand washing technique by following these steps to stay healthy.

When to Wash Your Hands

Keep yourself and your loved ones healthy by maintaining a good hand hygiene. Here are several situations when you are likely to pick up and spread germs:

  1.    Blowing your nose, sneezing or handling used tissues
  2.    Touching garbage or other contaminated objects like garbage cans and cleaning tools.
  3.    Using the toilet or changing diapers.
  4.    Before and after preparing food, raw meat, poultry or fish
  5.    Before and after eating food
  6.    Visiting and caring for someone who is sick
  7.    Treating a cut or wound
  8.    Before putting on or removing contact lenses
  9.    Contact with body fluids such as blood, vomit or saliva
  10.    Handling pets, animals or animal waste
  11.    Handling pet food or pet treats

Follow these 11 Effective Steps to Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is one of the one of the single most effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Regularly cleaning your hands can stop sickness from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.

Follow these simple steps for effective hand washing:

  1.    Wet your hands with clean, running water, cold or warm.
  2.    Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.
  3.    Rub hands palm to palm.
  4.    Rub right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa.
  5.    Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
  6.    Rub with back of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
  7.    Rub each thumb clasped in opposite hand using a rotational movement.
  8.    Rub tips of fingers in opposite palm in a circular motion.
  9.    Rinse hands with clean water, running water.
  10.    Dry hands thoroughly with a single use towel or air dry them.
  11.    Use towel to turn off faucet.

This entire process lasts for about 20 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice for a timer.

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Other Things to Consider:

  1.    Assume that contact with any human body fluids is infectious.
  2.    Clean the nails properly and regularly.
  3.    Cover cuts and wounds with bandages as these are very vulnerable to infections.
  4.    Keep hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose
  5.    Use moisturizing lotion for dry skin.

Hand Sanitizers as an Alternative

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is great alternative if soap and water are not available. Hand sanitizers however have limitations.

  1.    While a great alternative to hand washing it does not remove all types of germs and harmful bacteria.
  2.    These are not effective on visibly soiled and greasy hands and fingers.
  3.    Hand sanitizers are unable to rid your hands of harmful chemicals such as pesticides and heavy metals.

How to Apply:

  1.    Apply recommended amount (refer to product label) to the palm of one hand.
  2.    Rub your hands together.
  3.    Spread all over your hands and fingers until dry.

WARNING: Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning. Keep out of reach of children and supervise use.

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