Hand washing is the first line of defense in preventing illness.

Wash your hands with soap and running water frequently and thoroughly. Rinse and dry well.

The most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. By frequently washing your hands you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people or from contaminated surfaces.

By not washing your hands frequently you pick up germs from other sources and then you infect yourself when you touch eyes, nose, or mouth. One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with the cold virus.

You can also spread microorganisms (germs) directly to others or onto surfaces that other people touch thereby spreading disease.

It is important to wash your hands often:

  • Before you eat, and after you use the bathroom
  • Before, during, and after you prepare food
  • After handling animals or animal waste
  • When your hands are dirty
  • More frequently when someone in your home is sick.

The correct way to wash your hands is to:

1. Wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap.

2. Rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces

3. Continue for 10 - 15 seconds . It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that cleanses.

4. Rinse well and dry your hands thoroughly.

Dr. Will Sawyer, Infection Prevention Specialist, promotes the following four principles of hand awareness:

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
  2. DO NOT cough into your hands
  3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
  4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth