National Handwashing Awareness Week

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Published on December 02, 2020

National Handwashing Awareness Week

Photo of hands lathered in soapDecember 6 – 12 is National Handwashing Awareness Week and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Here are some handwashing tips.

What is the best way to wash my hands?

At home or work, wash your hands often—and correctly:

  • Use clean, running water. Use warm water if it's available.
  • Wet your hands before applying soap.
  • Rub your soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds. Wash all surfaces well. This includes your wrists, palms, backs of hands, and between fingers.
  • Remove the dirt from and clean under your fingernails.
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly to remove all soap.
  • Dry your hands with an air dryer or a clean paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucet with a paper towel.

If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used to clean your hands. When using this type of product:

  • Put the gel in the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until they are dry.

How often should I wash my hands?

According to Gina Tran MD, a family medicine doctor at PIH Health Hacienda Heights medical office building, “Hands should be washed often. This means more often than most adults and children generally wash their hands. Bacteria and other germs can only be seen under a microscope, so they can be anywhere.”

According to the CDC, it is especially important to wash your hands:

  • Before preparing food
  • Before meals
  • Before and after treating an open sore, cut, or wound
  • After using the bathroom
  • After touching animals or animal waste
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After handling garbage
  • When hands are dirty
  • When someone around you is ill

© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.