Tips to Help You Stay Safe from Germs

We are making a change to the 21st century by washing our hands before and after.

Fight Germs. Wash Your Hands

This hand-washing demonstration will show you how hand-washing can get rid of germs and chemicals that get on our hands every day.

As recommended by the CDC Release Date: 10/13/2016
Source: National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
Other Versions: Spanish (3:22)

Tips & Techniques for Staying Healthy

Think about a germ as a puddle of water that you’ve stepped in, Quite naturally, you’re going to track that water wherever you walk. Germs are the same way as that puddle in many instances; they hitch a ride with their host, thus being transferred from one place to the other. How many times in a week or a month do you visit your local grocery store? Have you ever thought about how many hands have touched the canned goods that you’re holding or what about that loaf of bread, or quart of milk? How long did it sit in the warehouse before reaching the shelves? How often are you wiping down the items that you purchased from the grocery store before placing them in your cabinets or refrigerator at home? If your answer to the last question was never, then guess what? You have just contaminated your home with germs, which tend to grow in dark, cool places. All of this information is “common sense”; if you don’t know, now you know!

As humans, we tend to get sick often, but there are simple steps we can follow to prevent this. We just need to use our “common sense”. I always thought I practiced good techniques, but one day, as I began to observe people in the community. I noticed that proper hand-washing techniques were not being practiced. For example, most people wash their hands after they have already used the bathroom, but wouldn’t it make “common sense” to wash your hands before you use the bathroom as well? Take a moment to think about the multitude of germs that are on your hands from touching door knobs, keys, phones, etc., and you’ve just touched the toilet paper that you’re going to use to wipe your private areas. It is common sense to wash your hands before and after you use the bathroom. Improper hand washing techniques can lead to serious illnesses.

When and How to Wash Your Hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • 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, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Show me the Science

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

CDC recommends cleaning hands in a specific way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The guidance for effective hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer was developed based on data from a number of studies.​​

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We should be washing our hands before and after performing everyday actions such as the handling of money, our credit cards, and mail. Many places we visit each day, such as the grocery store, malls, and nail salons, contain various health risks to which we should be made more aware. Let the powerful lessons inspire you to make a change in the way you view the spread of germs.

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