Keeping your hands clean is one of the easiest ways to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. One study shows people touch their faces on an average of 23 times an hour. Your hands come in contact with many germs, and when you touch your face, you increase your chances of getting sick. Keeping them clean can help you and others stay healthy.
The best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is essential, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not available, CDC recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Even though hand-washing seems like a basic task, there actually is a correct way to do it. Here are tips for washing your hands properly:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water.
- Add soap and rub your hands together to lather the soap. Take care to rub your palms, backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well with running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel. Or air dry them if no towels are available. Don’t rub them on your clothes or you could get them dirty.
- Turn off the faucet with your elbow or with a paper towel.
Choose the Right Hand Sanitizer
If you can’t wash your hands, hand sanitizer is the next best tool – if it’s the right kind. Hand sanitizer should have the right combination of alcohol and strength. Look for a hand sanitizer that contains:
- At least 60% ethyl alcohol (ethanol), or
- At least 70% isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol)
When applying hand sanitizer, rub it on all surfaces of your hands for at least 20 seconds. Let your hands air dry. You can use a song to help ensure you rub your hands for 20 seconds.
Proper hand-washing is effective in preventing the spread of the new coronavirus and other illnesses. But it doesn’t work alone. Combine it with physical (social) distancing and wearing a mask to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.