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The Importance of Washing Your Hands

  • Category: Blog, Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: St. John's Medical Center
The Importance of Washing Your Hands

The cold winter months can bring an increase in illness and disease. For those in Jackson, Wyoming, it can also mean spending a lot of time outside in the mountains. To ensure you’re enjoying yourself outdoors and not spending your days sick in bed, you’ll want to make sure you’re stopping illness in its tracks. The best way to do this? By being more mindful of your handwashing habits.

What You Need to Know About Washing Your Hands

It Stops the Spread of Illness

Washing your hands not only helps prevent you from getting sick, but it also helps prevent others from illness, too. Though it’s obvious to wash your hands after using the restroom or cooking with raw meat, we often forget to wash them after coughing or sneezing. When germs spread to your hands (from coughing, sneezing, or not correctly washing after the restroom), they can then transfer to other surfaces and be spread to others.

On the other hand, if you are out in a public place you could have easily touched a contaminated surface, putting yourself in harm's way of illness. By being consistent about washing your hands with clean water and soap - and doing so the right way, you can be sure you're stopping the spread of germs.

Washing Your Hands The Right Way

Your hands should be thoroughly scrubbed, rinsed, and dried during these instances:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food, especially raw meat
  • Before eating a meal
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • After using the restroom or changing a diaper
  • After touching the garbage
  • After touching or feeding a pet
  • After touching handrails or doorknobs in public places

Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Be sure to lather your entire hands, the back and under the nails, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds or as long as it takes you to sing the “Happy Birthday” song to completion twice. Rinse under clean water and then dry.

When Water Isn’t Available

In some instances, water might not always be readily available, so hand sanitizer can be used to help reduce the chance of germs. When choosing a hand sanitizer, look for one that contains 60% alcohol (as it should say so on the label). Keep in mind that hand sanitizer might not kill all germs and should only be used when water and soap are not available.

Primary Care in Jackson, Wilson, and Teton County

From family medicine to internal medicine, our Primary Care Providers (PCP) are here to openly listen to your concerns and work with you to achieve overall better health and wellness. Visit our website to see the types of primary care we provide or to find a doctor today!