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The best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands

The best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands

By Intermountain Healthcare

Mar 4, 2020

Updated Oct 25, 2023

5 min read

the best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and related illnesses. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community — from your home and workplace to schools and hospitals.

When should I wash my hands?

You should clean your hands:

  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • After blowing your nose or sneezing
  • When you touch objects and surfaces where someone has been ill
  • Before holding a baby
  • Before and after changing wound dressings or bandages
  • When your hands look or feel dirty

As much as possible, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. On average, we touch our face 23 times an hour, which means germs picked up from your phone, light switches, doorknobs, and other surfaces have a gateway into your throat, lungs, and sinuses.

How do I wash my hands?

Unfortunately, most of us don’t spend enough time washing our hands. Follow these five steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Try singing the “Happy Birthday” song, the “ABCs” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” twice to make sure you scrub long enough.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or an air dryer.

5 Steps to Handwashing SQUARE-01

We can all help prevent the spread of germs and disease by washing our hands more often and with the proper technique. Keep yourself, your family, and our community healthy by simply choosing to wash your hands more.