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Handwashing takes forefront as coronavirus concerns grow, but are you doing it correctly?

From childhood to adulthood we all learned to wash our hands after using the bathroom and before we eat. It's the easiest way to cut down on the spread of germs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Washing your hands is always the best way to cut down on the spread of germs and viruses. It's one of the best protections from getting sick we can all take. 

As coronavirus concerns collide with the flu season, it's even more important to develop a healthy hand washing routine for everyone, including children. 

Believe it or not, there's science to how you should wash your hands. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following steps for proper hand washing.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    *Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice*
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

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When there's no soap or water

If soap and water are not readily available, the CDC recommends that you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. One that contains at least 60% alcohol per the label on the bottle.

Something to keep in mind when using sanitizers: 

  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

3 steps to take when using hand sanitizer (CDC)

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

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Handwashing when preparing food or cooking:

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is an easy way to prevent germs from spreading around your kitchen and to other foods.

You should always wash your hands in the kitchen:

  • Before, during, and after preparing any food.
  • After handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Before eating.
  • After touching garbage.
  • After wiping counters or cleaning other surfaces with chemicals.
  • After touching pets, pet food, or pet treats.
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

Washing hands is important even if you’re wearing gloves. Be sure to wash your hands before and after using gloves to prevent the spread of germs. You can contaminate gloves with germs from your hands when you put on gloves. Contaminated gloves can spread germs to your hands when you remove the gloves, the CDC says.

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