When to Wash Your Hands

Handwashing is a critical step toward good health. It involves a few basic yet effective steps that can prevent the spread of many diseases—including diarrheal and respiratory illnesses—so people can remain healthy. When done before and after certain activities, regular handwashing can be one of the best ways to avoid getting sick, as well as prevent the spread of germs to others.

As you touch objects and other people throughout the day, your hands will start to accumulate germs. You can infect yourself with these germs whenever you touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. Though it’s impossible to keep your hands completely germ-free all the time, washing your hands frequently is the next best thing as it helps limit the transfer and growth of viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microbes.

So when is the best time to wash your hands? Be sure to follow these before and after tips: Wash your hands before preparing food, eating, giving medicine treating wounds, using tools used by others, and inserting or removing contact lenses. Always wash your hand after using the toilet, touching animals and their waste, blowing your nose, treating wounds, and handling objects that can be contaminated, such as shoes or cleaning cloths.

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