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The Plan for Fall 2020
WSU Together:

Handwashing: a small habit with a big impact

  • March 4, 2020

Washington State University is reminding students, faculty and staff that washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the tools identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for helping combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or flu. Handwashing prevents the spread of infections by reducing the number of germs introduced to our own bodies when touching our eyes, nose or mouth and reducing germs transferred to common objects like phones, hand rails, buttons, and door knobs.

Wash your hands often.

Washing hands at key times with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to get rid of germs and avoid spreading germs to those around you.

When you should wash your hands:

  • After using the bathroom
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

Do it right.

Follow these five steps every time you wash your hands.

  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 “Happy Birthday” twice or sing the WSU Fight song (without all the clapping of course).
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If soap and water aren’t available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

If you want to spread the word and not germs, you can get images, videos and posters to print and share at the CDC Health Promotion materials website. This information was provided by and adapted from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information visit www.cdc.gov/handwashing