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Why clean your hands?
  • Hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infection to yourself and others.
  • When you touch objects with contaminated hands, you leave germs for others to pick up.
  • When you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, or an open cut, with your contaminated hands you could make yourself ill.
When to clean your hands?
  • Before preparing food.
  • Before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Before and after changing a bandage.
  • After using the rest room.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • After touching things many other people have touched.
  • Additionally hospital staff are required to clean their hands before and after patient contact and before and after using gloves.
  • When your hands look dirty
  • Before you eat or prepare food.
How to clean your hands:

Washing hands with soap and running water (for as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice) will help protect against many germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

How to wash hands with soap and water:
  • Wet hands with warm running water.
  • Apply soap.
  • Lather for 15 seconds rubbing all surfaces of hands and wrists.
  • Rinse under running water with fingers pointing down.
  • Pat dry with paper towel.
  • Turn off faucet with paper towel and open door with paper towel.
  • Place paper towel in trash.
How to clean hands with alcohol-based hand cleaners:
  • Apply one squirt of alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Rub hands together to cover all surfaces 10-15 seconds until dry.
Care New England Talks Your Health