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During cold and flu season, handwashing is the best way to prevent yourself and your family from getting sick. Germs are everywhere; they get on our hands and items that we touch. Handwashing can prevent 1 in 5 respiratory infections such as cold and flu, and 1 in 3 diarrhea-related illnesses. Do not use hand sanitizer if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. Here are some other facts you should know:

How to use alcohol-based products like Purell or Cal Stat (it should contain 60% alcohol):

  • Apply gel to hands.
  • Rub hands together carefully covering all surfaces including fingertips.
  • Rub gel over all the surfaces of hands and fingers until dry.

How to wash hands with soap and water:

  • Use warm running water and soap.
  • Lather hands for about 15 seconds (count to 15).
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry hands with a single-use paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucets with the paper towel.
  • Put paper towel into the trash.

When to clean hands:

  • After sneezing/coughing/blowing nose.
  • After using the toilet.
  • Before and after eating.
  • After handling waste/emptying trash.
  • After touching money/handles of shopping carts/railings.
  • After playing.
  • After touching animals.
  • Before handling food.
  • After touching raw meats, poultry, and fish.
  • When arriving at work.
  • Anytime you change tasks (go from one thing to another)

For more information go to cdc.gov/handwashing. For more health and wellness tips and information, visit our news page at newhealthcenter.org.

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