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A Friendly Reminder About Hand Hygiene

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

May 11, 2022

There is something very simple that everyone can do to help keep themselves and others healthy – it is the frequent and proper washing of our hands. Handwashing may seem obvious, but there are key times and specific ways to wash our hands to prevent getting sick ourselves or spreading germs to others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises using soap and water and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Scrub up after preparing food, before and after treating a cut/wound, after touching animals (or their food or waste) or touching garbage. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of all the times you should wash your hands – just some of the key occasions for good hand hygiene.

When you wash your hands, do you know the proper method? We at Lee Health thought it would be helpful to remind you of the CDC’s five steps:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
  2. Rub your hands together to make a lather. Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel and use the towel to turn off the faucet.

While soap and water is ideal, especially if your hands are visibly soiled, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol to quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands. Remember to follow these steps when using hand sanitizer:

  1. Apply the sanitizer to the palm of your hand.
  2. Rub your hands together.
  3. Rub the sanitizer over all surfaces of your hands and fingers and continue rubbing until your hands are dry.

In addition to washing your hands frequently, avoid close contact with people who are sick. Germs are everywhere, so you should also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. And, if you are sick, you should stay home.

Should you need medical attention, Lee Telehealth is a great option to get the care you need without having to leave your house, which greatly reduces your exposure to germs from others and others’ exposure to your germs. You can visit LeeTelehealth.org 24/7 for more information.