Keep your hands clean for your health and others

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent illness.

It seems like everyone knows someone who is sick right now; with a runny nose, sore throat or cough. It is inevitable during the winter months when kids and adults are inside more than outside. Staying healthy is everyone’s goal – no one likes to be sick. Michigan State University Extension says that the simple act of hand washing is the number one strategy to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends keeping your hands clean through hand washing as an important step to prevent getting sick. Viruses and other diseases can be spread by not washing our hands after they are contaminated with germs. Hand washing with soap and warm water is the preferred way to rid yourself of the germs on your hands. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean hands.

Take your time when washing your hands. It is tempting to rush through this important step in staying healthy, but taking your time is essential. Follow these basic steps to do a thorough job:

  • Wet your hands with warm water.
  • Apply soap and scrub hands for 20 seconds forming a good later. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice as a good indicator of time.
  • Rinse hands under warm water.
  • Dry hands using a clean towel or air dry.

During everyday tasks, our hands touch surfaces that contain pathogens that spread illness. Therefore, the CDC recommends washing your hands after any of the following tasks:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

No one likes to be sick because it takes us from our daily activities that we enjoy. So keep germs out of your life by washing your hands thoroughly and frequently.

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