1st Principle

someone washing their hands

The 1st Principle of Hand Awareness:

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies have shown that flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces for up to two to eight hours after being left on items such as cafeteria tables, doorknobs and desks.

Frequent hand washing will help you reduce the chance of contamination from these common surfaces.  Flu viruses may be spread when a person touches droplets left by coughs and sneezes on hard surfaces (such as desks or door knobs) or objects (such as keyboards or pens) and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth. Routine cleaning will kill these germs.

Washing with soap and water:

• Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.

• Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.

• Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. This is about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice through.

• Rinse hands well under running water.

• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. Sharing cloth towels can spread germs. If possible, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.

Remember: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer to clean hands.

When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

• Apply product to the palm of one hand.

• Rub hands together.

• Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until dry.

Supervise children when using alcohol based hand sanitizer because of the dangers associated with accidental ingestion.

When should you wash your hands?

• Before preparing or eating food.

• After going to the bathroom.

• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom.

• After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

• After handling an animal or animal waste.

• After handling garbage.

• Before and after treating a cut or wound.


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