Hand Hygiene - Your Health is in Your CLEAN Hands!
Good hand cleaning - also called hand hygiene - is the first defense against the spread of many illnesses. Germs on your hands can cause illnesses such as common colds, influenza (flu) and skin infections as well as more serious illnesses such as meningitis, bronchitis, hepatitis A and many types of diarrhea.
What is the best way to clean your hands?
- Wash hands with soap and water to remove germs. This is the only way to clean hands that are plainly dirty.
- First, wet your hands with warm water, then use liquid or a clean bar soap to work up a good suds.
- Rub your hands together strongly for at least 15 to 20 seconds to remove the "dirt".
- Be sure to scrub your nail areas, thumbs, wrists and back of hands because these areas are often missed.
- Finish by rinsing your hands well, then drying with a clean towel.
- In public areas, protect your clean hands by using the paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door.
- Your hands can look clean, but germs may be present. To disinfect your hands, use an alcohol-based hand product such as a gel or foam. Alcohol-based hand products only work on hands that appear to be clean because they cannot remove “dirt”. Use enough of the product to completely moisten your hands, and then rub it in until your hands are dry.
When is it important to clean your hands?
- Before, during and after you prepare food
- Before you eat
- Before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Before you insert or remove contact lenses
- Before and after using sports/fitness equipment
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After you blow your nose
- After you cough or sneeze into your hands
- After you use the bathroom or change a diaper
- After handling uncooked foods, especially meat, poultry or fish
- After handling animals or animal waste
- After you handle garbage or dirty laundry
- After shaking hands
- After touching unclean surfaces (even if they look clean)
- More often when someone in your home is sick
- Any time your hands are dirty
Please use these links for additional information:
Hand hygiene infographic - Adult Hand Washing Steps
Hand hygiene infographic - Kids Hand Washing Steps
Hand hygiene infographic - Hand Washing Steps
Hand hygiene poster – Mark Twain
Hand hygiene poster – Robert Louis Stevenson
Hand hygiene poster – Margaret Mitchell
Hand hygiene poster – Herman Melville
Hand hygiene poster – Arthur Conan Doyle
Hand hygiene poster – Charles Dickens
Hand hygiene poster – Judy Blume
Hand hygiene poster – L.Frank Baum
Hand hygiene poster – Jane Austen
Prevent Infectious Diseases Daily with Healthy Behavior (127k.pdf)
10 Things To Do To Prevent Infectious Diseases (175k.pdf)
Hand Hygiene (239k.pdf)
Higiene de las Manos - Español (153k.pdf)
Hand Hygiene Activity Book for Children (1,650k.pdf)
Camp Safety (229k.pdf)
“Clean Hands Save Lives” (CDC)
Clean Hands (WHO)
Hand Hygiene Print Materials (Minnesota Dept. of Health)
Henry the Hand
Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings (CDC)
Clean Care is Safer Care (WHO)