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Coronavirus prevention: How to properly wash hands to stop the spread of germs – oregonlive.com

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UPDATE 5:33 P.M.: Coronavirus now in Oregon.

As worries grow about the spread of coronavirus, public health officials have said repeatedly that the most-important thing people can do is to wash their hands frequently.

That’s good advice during any cold and flu season, but is particularly important as more coronavirus cases crop up around the globe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing, particularly during times when you are likely to get and spread germs.

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • 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
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Washing your hands sounds easy enough. But chances are you may not be doing it properly. Here are the CDC’s recommended 5 steps for properly washing your hands. You should do these steps every time you wash.

  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 the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Can’t wash? Use hand sanitizer

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to clean your hands. But if soap and water aren’t available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. The CDC cautions that sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs, and their effectiveness goes down if your hands are really dirty or greasy. Also, they might not remove chemicals or other contaminants that might be on your hands, like pesticides.

— Grant Butler

gbutler@oregonian.com

503-221-8566; @grantbutler

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