Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It's quick, it's simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.
Learn more about when and how to wash your hands, the importance of using soap and water, and what you can do if soap and clean, running water are not available. Whether you are at home, at work, traveling, or already sick, find out how good hand hygiene can protect you, your family, and others. More…
Keeping our hands clean is one of the best things we can do to keep from getting sick and avoid spreading germs to others. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explains how handwashing in schools helps students, families, and communities stay healthier.
Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
This site provides healthcare workers and patients with a variety of resources and materials.
Water, Sanitation, and Environmental-related Hygiene
Refers to behaviors that can improve cleanliness and lead to good health, such as frequent hand washing, face washing, and bathing with soap and water.
Hand Hygiene to Help Prevent Flu
Good health habits for preventing seasonal flu include proper handwashing to help stop the spread of germs at home, work, and school.
Hand Hygiene During an Emergency
During and after an emergency, it can be difficult to find running water.
Hand Hygiene Aboard Ships
Good hand hygiene is one of the most critical control strategies in outbreak management on board ships and cruises.
Handwashing & Other Health-Promoting Activities
Individuals and communities can take everyday preventive actions and other measures (known as "nonpharmaceutical interventions") to keep people from getting sick.
- Page last reviewed: September 23, 2015
- Page last updated: September 23, 2015
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