With the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to wash our hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations on when, how, and why we should wash our hands.

When should we wash our hands?

A few important times include:

  • before eating
  • after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
  • before and after taking care of a sick family member
  • after going to the bathroom
  • after going outside
  • after touching animals or pets and their food or waste

How do we wash our hands properly?

The CDC recommends following these 5 easy steps, and more details on each step can be found here.

  1. Wet
  2. Lather
  3. Scrub
  4. Rinse
  5. Dry

You can help kids learn to make handwashing a habit. The CDC has these useful tips:

  • Remind your kids every time they should be washing their hands. For example, you could give verbal reminders or print these posters and put them above the sink.
  • Turn handwashing into a game
  • Wash for 20 seconds along to fun songs like this one
  • Lead by example

Why should we wash our hands?

Washing our hands is an easy way to prevent ourselves and loved ones from getting sick. Here are some scientific facts from the CDC:

  • It’s important to use soap and clean, running water because the soap helps remove germs and microbes and the water helps wash them away.
  • The best way to clean our hands is with soap and water, but if they’re not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol are also effective.
  • Regular soap works just as well as “antibacterial” soap.
  • Baby wipes aren’t effective at removing germs- soap and water or hand sanitizers are better.
  • After washing, we should dry our hands well to prevent spreading germs.