Hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Washing hands help reduces the spread of germs to other people. Washing hands daily with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them.

How Do Clean Hands Help Health?

Good hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses — from the common cold to more serious infections, such as meningitis, bronchitic, the flu, and many types of diarrhea.

How Germs Spread

Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrhea infections from one person to the next. This helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table-tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.

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.
  • After touching trash
  • Before or immediately after getting home from any outdoor activity

Steps to washing your hands

Good hand washing requires focusing on the palms, back of the hands and the fingertips. Here, we have highlighted the proper steps to washing your hands to keep them free from harmful bacteria.

  • Get your hands wet by holding them under the tap for a few seconds
  • Rub the soap all over your palms and the back of your hands.
  • When there is enough lather, keep rubbing your palms together.
  • Rub the palm of one hand over the back of the other hand running the fingers through each other at the same time; repeat this for the other hand.
  • With the fingers of one hand, run the back of the finger on the other hand and vice versa.
  • Rub the thumbs on the palms of each hand one after the other in circular motions.
  • Take the fingers of one hand in the palms of the other and rub in circular motion, do this for both hands.
  • Rinse both hands with water.
  • Dry your hands preferably with a paper towel.
  • Use this towel to turn the tap off.

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