- Take everyday actions to stay healthy.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
- Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
An excellent way to defend against contamination can start with good hand washing techniques.
Use of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers — which don’t require water — are an excellent alternative to hand washing, particularly when soap and water aren’t available. They’re actually more effective than soap and water in killing bacteria and viruses that cause disease. Commercially prepared hand sanitizers contain ingredients that help prevent skin dryness. Using these products can result in less skin dryness and irritation than hand washing.
Not all hand sanitizers are created equal, though. Some “waterless” hand sanitizers don’t contain alcohol. Use only the alcohol-based products. The CDC recommends choosing products that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Apply about 1/2 teaspoon of the product to the palm of your hand.
- Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces of your hands, until they’re dry.
If your hands are visibly dirty, it is recommended to wash with soap and water, if available, rather than a sanitizer.
When should you wash your hands?
Although it’s impossible to keep your bare hands germ-free, there are times when it’s critical to wash your hands to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.
Always wash your hands
- After using the toilet
- After changing a diaper + wash the diaper-wearer’s hands, too
- After touching animals or animal waste
- Before and after preparing food, especially before and immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish
- Before eating
- After blowing your nose
- After coughing or sneezing into your hands
- Before and after treating wounds or cuts
- Before and after touching a sick or injured person
- After handling garbage
- Before inserting or removing contact lenses
- When using public restrooms, such as those in gas stations, airports, train stations, bus stations and restaurants.
Hand washing doesn’t take much time or effort, but it offers great rewards in terms of preventing illness. Adopting this simple habit can play a major role in protecting your health.
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