Winter 2016 Health Link Online

HealthLink Online

Uniting Children, Parents, Caregivers, and Health Professionals

Hand Hygiene: When and How to Do It

Hand Hygiene: When and How to Do It

Correct hand hygiene is important in all seasons. Use information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to remind everyone about how and when to do it.

Use the CDC posters and the information from the CDC website to make your own posters with photos of the children, drawings or magazine clippings. Here is some wording adapted from the CDC web-site to use on posters in child care programs:

  • The flu virus can live on surfaces such as door knobs and tabletops for up to 24 hours. Routine cleaning of surfaces and proper hand hygiene may reduce the spread of flu.
  • Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs (microbes) on them in most situations.
  • If soap and water are not available, adults and children older than 24 months of age who are close-ly supervised by adults can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situa-tions, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

WHEN to perform hand hygiene:1

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers, soiled pull-ups or underwear, or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet (Before changing diapers too, if hands touched body fluids before the change)
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

HOW to perform hand hygiene:2 Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply liquid soap. (Let the water run if you can’t turn it off without touching the faucet with soiled hands.)
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or as close to 20 seconds as possible. Need a timer? Hum or sing "Happy Birthday" or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” from beginning to end twice. Make up words to sing about hand washing with these familiar song tunes.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Use a paper towel to turn off the wa-ter if the taps do not shut off automatically.

1 http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html
2 http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html