Prevent Infections Caused by Viruses with Your Hands

Preventing Infections Caused by Viruses with Your Hands

Viruses are tiny infectious agents that can cause a wide range of diseases, from the common cold to more severe illnesses like COVID-19. These viruses can spread easily from person to person through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, respiratory droplets, or bodily fluids. One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of viruses is by practicing good hand hygiene. In this article, we will discuss the importance of hand hygiene and how to properly wash your hands to prevent infections caused by viruses.

Why is Hand Hygiene Important?

Hand hygiene is the act of cleaning your hands to remove dirt, germs, and other harmful substances. It is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections, including those caused by viruses. When you touch a contaminated surface or object, the virus can transfer to your hands. If you touch your face, mouth, or nose with contaminated hands, you can easily infect yourself with the virus. Additionally, if you touch other people or objects with contaminated hands, you can spread the virus to others.

Proper Hand Washing Technique

Proper hand washing is essential to prevent the spread of viruses. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap.

2. Rub your hands together to create a lather. Be sure to 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.

When to Wash Your Hands

It is important to wash your hands regularly, especially during the following times:

1. Before and after preparing food

2. Before eating

3. After using the bathroom

4. After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

5. After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

6. After handling garbage

7. Before and after caring for someone who is sick

8. Before and after treating a cut or wound

9. After touching a contaminated surface or object

Hand Sanitizer

If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Apply the hand sanitizer to the palm of one hand.

2. Rub your hands together.

3. Rub the hand sanitizer over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

Hand sanitizer is not as effective as hand washing, especially if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. Additionally, hand sanitizer does not kill all types of germs, including some viruses.

Other Tips to Prevent the Spread of Viruses

In addition to practicing good hand hygiene, there are other steps you can take to prevent the spread of viruses:

1. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve.

2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

3. Stay home if you are sick.

4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops.

5. Wear a mask in public settings, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.


Hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of infections caused by viruses. By washing your hands regularly and properly, you can reduce your risk of getting sick and spreading the virus to others. Remember to wash your hands before and after certain activities, such as preparing food, using the bathroom, and caring for someone who is sick. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Additionally, follow other tips to prevent the spread of viruses, such as covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoiding close contact with sick people, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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