Practice proper personal hygiene and frequent hand washing

Practice proper hand and wrist hygiene

When you don’t know what you don’t know, then do what you do know: Wash your hands—and your wrists! Hand and wrist hygiene should occur multiple times daily, before AND after eating, going to the lavatory and physically shaking hands/touching others for any reason.

The practice of appropriate hand washing remains as the most basic strategy to prevent the spread of viruses. Proper hand/wrist hygiene using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ABHS) significantly impacts microbe transmission and should be incorporated into routine practice.

While soap doesn’t kill the virus, it does wash it away if done properly: Wash hands with soap and water, place the hands under running water, apply the soap, and vigorously rub all surfaces of the hands and wrists together for 15-20 seconds (sing "Happy Birthday" twice), rinse, use a disposable towel to dry, and use the towel to turn off the water faucet. Make sure you clean under your fingernails, as well.

ABHS are the most efficacious method to reduce bacteria on the hands and wrists. ABHS should be used according to manufacturer recommendations, which generally include putting the product on and rubbing all surfaces together for at least 20 seconds until dry. If it is dry before 20 seconds, you have not used enough ABHS.

Fingernails should be kept less than ¼ inch long, and excessive jewelry should be avoided. Frequent use of hand lotions that do not interfere with hand sanitizing products may help reduce hand dryness from frequent cleansing.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue is available, sneezing or coughing into a bent elbow is recommended. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.