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Keeping your hands washed is a major step towards preventing communicable illness.  Read our article to re-affirm what your mother told you - with some information from the CDC for good measure.



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Travel Advice - Wash those hands

The most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands.

By frequently washing your hands, you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, or from contaminated surfaces, or from animals and animal waste.

What happens if you do not wash your hands frequently?

You pick up germs from other sources and then you infect yourself when you:
  • Touch your eyes
  • Or your nose
  • Or your mouth.

One of the most common ways people catch colds is by rubbing their nose or their eyes after their hands have been contaminated with the cold virus. You can also spread germs directly to others or onto surfaces that other people touch.

The important thing to remember is that, in addition to colds, some pretty serious diseases -- like hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea -- can easily be prevented if people make a habit of washing their hands.


           Figure 1.  Do this often during travel.


When should you wash your hands?

The Center for Disease Control recommends that you wash your hands

  • Before, during, and after you prepare food
  • Before you eat, and after you use the bathroom
  • After handling animals or animal waste
  • When your hands are dirty, and
  • More frequently when you come into contact with someone who is ill.

What is the correct way to wash your hands?

  • First wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap.
    • Place the bar soap on a rack and allow it to drain.
  • Next, rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue for 10 - 15 seconds or about the length of a little tune. It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs.
  • Rinse well and dry your hands.
  • If the bathroom door has a handle, cover it with a paper towel to open it.

It is estimated that over half the people using public restroom do not wash their hands before they leave the premises.

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