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Handwashing For Health

Person Washing Hands in Sink with SoapThank you for visiting the Handwashing For Health section of Grays Harbor Community Hospital.

For many diseases, one of the easiest ways to spread is by the hands of an infected person. We often don't think about the many ways that bacteria and viruses can come into contact with our hands or how "bug friendly" our hands are. The following information is here to provide the reader with a better understanding of the impact that simple handwashing can have for you, your family and your community.

Please watch the following video from the National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases (NCPDCID), which shows how we can all help to reduce the spread of disease in our community:

Put Your Hands Together. Flash Player 9 is required.


As you can see from the video, keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is best to wash your hands with soap and clean running water for 20 seconds. However, if soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand rubs significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting.

When washing hands 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. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend!
  • Rinse hands well under running water
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet

Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel 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 hands are dry.

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
  • Before and after tending to someone who is sick
  • 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
Remember: Clean Hands Save Lives!