What you need to know about handwashing

By  | 

ATLANTA (Gray News) – America’s growing coronavirus outbreak has put a premium on good hygiene, especially handwashing.

Protect yourself and others by washing your hands with soap and water. (Source: CDC)

Doctors and scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s one of the most important things we can do during the pandemic.

“Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others,” the CDC says.

“It’s quick, it’s simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.”

Here are some clean-hands tips from the CDC you should keep in mind to help you stay healthy.

Why should I use soap and water to wash my hands?

Germs can get onto your hands and items you touch throughout the day. When your hands may be dirty, it’s best to wash with soap and water to remove whatever germs and chemicals may be on them.

Water or cold water?

Either is fine, as long as it’s clean.

Bar soap or liquid?

Either is fine.

Does the soap have to be antibacterial to work?

No. Plain soap and water works just as well.

What if I don’t have soap, but I have access to water?

Using soap to wash hands is more effective than using water alone, but if water is all you have, rub your hands together under it and wipe them off with a clean towel or air dry.

When hands are not visibly dirty, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

How long do I need to scrub when washing my hands?

Scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds is most effective.

Do I have to clean under my fingernails?

Yes, germs like to hide under fingernails. Make sure to clean there, too.

Towel or air dry?

Either is fine, but if you’re using a towel, make sure it’s clean.

Should I use a paper towel to turn off the faucet or open the door of a public bathroom?

There isn’t much scientific evidence about this. If you are concerned about getting germs on your hands after you wash them, you can use a paper towel to turn off the faucet or open door handles.

What if I don’t have soap or water to wash my hands?

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly kill most types of germs on the hands but may not kill certain bacteria and viruses that can cause diarrhea. You should wash your hands before eating or after using the restroom.

Copyright 2020 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.