Handwashing Directions For Protecting Against Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Handwashing remains the No. 1 tip for preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s common sense and it works. However, it must be done properly and with soap and water. When soap and water are not available, the next best option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Respiratory viruses like coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread when mucus or droplets containing the virus get into your body through your eyes, nose or throat. Most often, this happens through your hands. Hands are also one of the most common ways that the virus spreads from one person to the next. During a global pandemic, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of a virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

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Handwashing requires five simple steps:

  • Wet: Put both your hands under clean, running water.
  • Lather: Apply a generous amount of soap to the inside and back of your hands as well as your fingertips. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (sing happy birthday) and don’t forget to wash under jewelry and fingernails. Your fingertips are especially important as people often put their fingers on their face, nose, and eyes. This is how the virus spreads.
  • Scrub: Rub both hands together and move your fingertips around both hands. You don’t need a scrub brush. You don’t need to make harsh, scrubbing movements.
  • Rinse: Return both hands to the running water and gently wash away the soap.
  • Dry: Completely dry the water from your hands. Using a disposable towel (paper towel) is best to avoid leaving germs on towels. Air dryers, commonly found in public bathrooms, are also effective.
How else can I help stop the spread of the coronavirus?
  • Use proper sneezing and coughing etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, dispose of used tissue immediately, and wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes)
  • Practice social distancing: Avoiding shaking hands, hugging or kissing people, sharing food, utensils, cups and towels
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Seek medical care early if you or your child has a fever, cough or difficulty breathing
  • Clean surfaces that might have come in touch with the virus, and generally clean surfaces more frequently (especially in public spaces)

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