By Mary Pletsch 08 Mar 2020 no comment 575 Views

As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) makes the news, many people wonder what they should do to minimize their risk.   In fact, the number one way to prevent the spread of this and other viruses is something you are already familiar with.

The number one way to prevent the spread of viruses is to wash your hands frequently.

Throughout a typical day you will touch all manner of surfaces that have been touched by other people:  door knobs, countertops, keyboards, pens, drawer and door handles…  If someone else has a virus, they can leave it on these surfaces, where it can come into contact with your hands.

Most of us already know to wash our hands after using the bathroom.

When are some other good times to wash your hands?

Wash your hands before handling food.  It’s easy to remember to wash before cooking or sitting down to dinner, but remember there are other times when you touch food.  Remember that you touch food when you are  grocery shopping.  And many people don’t think twice before reaching for “finger food” as a snack between meals.

When you’ve been out in public, wash your hands when you come home.

If you need to touch your face – for example, to put on reading glasses or makeup, to scratch an itch, to brush or floss your teeth – wash your hands first.

Wash your hands if you’ve covered a cough or sneeze.  It’s best to use the crook of your elbow or a tissue to cover a sneeze or cough.  Throw out tissues promptly and wash clothing that you’ve sneezed on.

What do you do if you’re somewhere where it’s difficult to wash your hands?

Keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer in your messenger bag, briefcase, purse, or pocket.  Make sure it is at least 60% alcohol.  To save money and waste, many of these little bottles can be refilled from larger bottles at home.  Hand sanitizer is typically not as effective as soap and warm water, so don’t forget to make use of a sink when you get the chance.

How do you wash your hands effectively?

Use soap.  The water should be warm.  Lather and scrub for at least twenty seconds.  Pay attention to the spaces in between your fingers and remember to scrub every part of your hands.

Next week we’ll share some more tips for defeating viruses.

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