Hand-washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
How Germs Spread
Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
Touch a contaminated surface or objects
Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects
Key Times to Wash Hands:
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
Before, during, and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
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, animal feed, or animal waste
After handling pet food or pet treats
After touching garbage
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also clean hands:
After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.
Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that’s how germs enter our bodies.