Handwashing is the best way to stop the spread of respiratory tract infections. 80% of common infections can be spread by hands.
When to wash your hands:
- Before meals
- Before breastfeeding
- After using the toilet or helping a child use the toilet
- Before and after changing diapers
- After blowing your nose or wiping a child’s nose
- After handling objects shared with others
How to wash hands:
- Use soap and water. Washing with water alone does not get rid of germs.
- Wet your hands.
- Apply soap. Do not use antibacterial soap.
- Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds (or the time it takes to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star).
- Rinse your hands for 10 seconds.
- Dry your hands with a towel.
What you should do:
- Expect doctors, dentists, nurses and therapists to wash their hands before they examine you or your child.
- Make sure soap is available in the washroom of your child’s school and your workplace.
- Make sure that childcare sites have places for adults and children to wash their hands.
- Use regular soap. Plain soap works just as well as antibacterial soap. Antibacterial soap is not needed because it leads to bacterial resistance.
- Teach by example.