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Wellness news: The 411 on handwashing and hand sanitizers

Sep 23, 2016

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps a person can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is best to wash hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds. If soap and/or clean, running water are not available, use an alcohol-based product containing at least 60 percent alcohol to clean hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are fast-acting and significantly reduce the number of many types of germs on the skin, however, they will not kill all germs.

When to Wash Hands:

  • Before and after preparing food
  • Before and after tending to someone who is sick
  • After blowing one's nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After handling garbage

Washing with Soap and Water:

  • Wet hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. (Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.)
  • Rinse hands well under running water.
  • Dry hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.

Using an Alcohol-based Hand Rub:

  • Apply product to the palm of one hand, using the amount of product indicated on the label
  • Rub hands together
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry

For more tips on cold and flu prevention visit  (First time users must enter EAPBusiness as your company Web ID and enter UNIVE as your employer name).

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