Keeping your hands clean can keep you from getting sick or making others sick.

Germs can be picked up from anything or anyone we touch.

After we touch our mouths, eyes, and noses, others can pick up germs by touching us or the objects we handle.

So, you should wash your hands:

  • Before eating.
  • Before, during, and after handling food.
  • After contact with blood or body fluids (like vomit, nasal secretions, or saliva).
  • After changing a diaper or handling garbage.
  • After you use the bathroom.
  • After petting any animals, especially at the petting zoos
  • After touching anything that could have germs, such as an animal’s toys or waste, trash cans, dirt
  • After cleaning clothes or drains.
  • Before dressing a wound, giving medicine or inserting contact lenses.
  • More often when someone in your home is sick.
  • Whenever they look dirty.

Follow these steps to wash your hands properly:

  • Wet your hands and apply liquid, bar, or powder soap.
  • Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue for 20 seconds!
  • It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge and remove stubborn germs.
  • Need a timer? Imagine singing the “Happy Birthday” song all the way through, twice.
  • Rinse hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer.
  • If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based wipe or hand gel until you can wash your hands properly.

For more information, contact the Genesee County Health Department at (810) 257-3612 or visit the GCHD website.

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