Washing Your Hands: Why It Matters for Teens

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Why is it so important to wash your hands?

Hand washing has always been the best way to avoid getting sick. But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks, hand washing is more important than ever.

The coronavirus spreads easily. Hand washing prevents the spread of germs , including the coronavirus.

When you wash your hands, you protect yourself from germs. You also protect the people in your family. And in the case of coronavirus, when you stop the spread of germs in your home, you also protect the people in your community.

What is the best way to wash your hands?

Here’s how to get the germs off yourself:

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold). Make sure the water is not too hot.
  2. Use soap and rub your hands vigorously for about 20 seconds. You don’t need to use an antibacterial soap; any type of soap works.
  3. Make sure you thoroughly wash the area between your fingers , the backs of your hands, and under your nails, where germs love to hide. And don’t forget the dolls!
  4. Rinse your hands and dry them well with a clean, dry towel.

When should I wash my hands?

To stop the spread of germs, make washing your hands a regular habit. It is especially important to practice it:

  • before eating and cooking
  • After going to the bathroom
  • after cleaning the house
  • after handling animals, including your family’s pets
  • after visiting or caring for sick friends or family
  • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • after being abroad 
  • after handling the mail or packages

What if you don’t have soap and water? Waterless hand scrubs or sanitizers are also a good alternative. They come in liquid, wipe, or spray form. You can buy small containers to keep in your backpack, car, locker, purse, or gym bag.

How does having clean hands help?

Proper hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many diseases, including the coronavirus (COVID-19). It also helps protect you from the common cold or cold to more serious illnesses, such as meningitis , bronchiolitis, the flu , hepatitis A , and many types of diarrhea.

How do germs spread?

Germs can be spread in many different ways, such as:

  • when touching dirty hands
  • when changing diapers
  • through contaminated food or water
  • through droplets expelled into the air during coughing or sneezing
  • through contaminated surfaces
  • through contact with bodily fluids of a sick person

When you come into contact with germs, you can get infected only by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.