Proper hygiene and hand washing is a necessary precaution to protect yourself and your loved ones from spreading or being exposed to germs. It may seem like a relatively simple thing to do but there is an efficient way to wash your hands properly and effectively. During the COVID-19 Pandemic it is extremely important to wash your hands after being in a public place, touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people such as door handles, shopping cards, buttons, card machines or screens. You must avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth especially when out in public or before washing your hands thoroughly. When exercising make sure to keep your equipment clean as sanitized especially if you are sharing equipment with other people.

Five Steps To Wash Your Hands Effectively

  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 soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, under your nails as well as above your wrists and a portion of your forearms.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (aim to sing Happy Birthday from beginning to end twice).
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.

When you don’t have access to soap and water you must use hand sanitizer (alcohol based 60% +). It is important to wash your hands as soon as you can as hand sanitizers do not protect against all germs.

Key Times To Wash Your Hands

  • Before, during and after preparing food (make sure you use a clean cloth or paper towel to dry them).
  • Before eating food.
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up after a child who has used the toilet.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste, pet food or treats.
  • After touching garbage or communal spaces.

As adapted from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). When and How to Wash Your Hands. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html. Last accessed 10th April 2020.

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