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Spread joy, not germs! Wash your hands this holiday season.

The holidays are when you rest, enjoy great food, and spend time with family. But nothing spoils a family gathering faster than coughing, sneezing, or diarrhea! Proper handwashing can help keep you and your family healthy this season.

It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week

A whole week to celebrate handwashing? Yes! Reminding you to wash your hands is one of the most basic and successful ways we in public health work to keep you healthy.

Washing your hands is the simplest thing you can do to prevent the spread of germs and diseases. Diarrheal diseases and pneumonia kill an average of 1.8 million children under the age of 5 around the world each year. But handwashing with soap prevents 1 out of 3 diarrheal illnesses and 1 out of 5 respiratory infections like pneumonia among young children.

You may not be able to dodge holiday hugs and kisses, but you can help prevent the spread of germs—with handwashing.

Wash your hands after you cough, use the bathroom, or get dirty. Also wash your hands before and after you ear or prepare food.

Wash your hands often.

Most people know to wash after using the restroom, but germs are everywhere! Wash your hands:

  • After you use the restroom—every time.
  • After you touch items that can transfer disease—vomit, diarrhea, diapers, etc.
  • Before, during and after you prepare food, especially raw meats.
  • Before you eat.
  • After you handle money, garbage or dirty dishes.
  • After you blow your nose, cough or sneeze.
  • Whenever your hands are dirty.

Give them a good scrub.

It’s important to wash your hands properly:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, warm water.
  2. Use plenty of soap.
  3. Scrub your hands for 20 seconds. Be sure to get your wrists, back of your hands, fingertips, and under your nails. Bacteria love to hide. Sing your favorite holiday song to pass the time!
  4. Rinse your hands with warm water.
  5. Dry your hands with an air dryer, paper towel, or clean cloth towel.

Now that you are a handwashing expert, you’re ready to spread only joy and not germs this wonderful time of year. Happy handwashing this holiday season!