- 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. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Here are some recommended cases in which you should wash your hands beforehand:
- 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, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Medical professionals agree that this method is the best way to stay healthy in the face of a viral outbreak.
“Keeping your hands clean is still the best way for you and your family members to avoid infections, both in the community and when in the hospital,” explains Whitney Watson, BSN, RN, CIC, infection preventionist at Parkwest Medical Center. “When receiving healthcare services, expect your providers to perform hand hygiene before providing care and don’t be afraid to ask them to clean their hands before providing care or starting treatments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us, ‘It’s OK to ask for protection from infection.’”