Germs and viruses can pass from person to person by routine activities such as shaking hands, handling food, touching doorknobs, using the restroom, touching your face, and talking on the phone to name a few.
According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand washing is the single most important way of preventing the spread of infections. Poorly washed hands are a common way of spreading colds, flu, ear infections, strep throat, diarrhea and other problems.
Ideally you should wash your hands:
- After using the restroom
- Before and after eating
- Before and after preparing food
- After changing diapers
- After treating a cut or wound
- After tending to a sick person
- After handling garbage
To properly wash your hands, use hot running water and lather your hands with soap of any kind. Rub your hands together and be sure to wash the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails. Rinse and towel dry your hands working from the wrist down.
If you are traveling and soap and water are not available, consider a waterless, alcohol-based hand gel consisting of at least 60% alcohol. When using an alcohol-based hand gel, be sure to apply the product to the palm of your hand and run the product over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until dry. Travel size hand gels are available at most stores and pharmacies and may also be found at airport newsstands.
The few moments you spend washing your hands may make your trip much more pleasant or save you a trip to the doctor!