Don’t forget to wash your hands!

Say bye, bye! to the common cold and other ordinary winter diseases.

Simply washing your hands can reduce the occurrence of respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%.  This reduction can, in turn, decrease absenteeism due to sickness in school children by 29-57% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2018). Germs spread in many ways. For example, touching one’s nose, mouth, and eyes or other people with his or her hands allows germs to pass quickly, or germs can be transmitted through the improper handling of food or dishware.

To avoid sickness and reduce the spreading of germs, the CDC recommends washing your hands in the following situations:

  • 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 or cleaning a child who has used the toilet
  • 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

According to the CDC, the proper way to wash your hands is as follows:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water – warm or cold
  • Turn off the tap and apply soap
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap and be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (singing the Happy Birthday song twice takes approximately 20 seconds)
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them



Centers for Disease Control. (2019, February 19). Retrieved from

Rabie, T., & Curtis, V. (2006). Handwashing and risk of respiratory infections: A quantitative systematic review. Tropical Medicine and Internal Health, 11(3), 258-267.  Retrieved from