The Importance of Hand Washing
As your medical provider, we are concerned about all aspects of your health. To that end, we are pleased to provide you with the following facts regarding hand washing.
Did you know that according to the CDC, infectious disease spread by unclean hands is the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States?
When should you wash your hands?
- Before, during and after preparing food.
- Before eating.
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
- Before and after treating a cut or wound.
- Before and after using medical equipment such as blood testing and breathing machines.
- 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, animal feed, or animal waste.
- After handling pet food or pet treats.
- After touching garbage.
How should you 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 both hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or hum “happy Birthday” from beginning to end to yourself twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
What should you do if you don’t have soap and clean, running water?
- Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of microbes on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of microbes. Hand sanitizers are less effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
How do you use hand sanitizers?
- Apply product to the palm of one hand in the amount indicated on the label.
- Rub product over the entire surface of hands, fingers, and thumbs until your hands are dry.