How often should you wash your hands?

Proper hand washing - WHO instructions and tips

Every day our hands come into contact with surfaces on which pathogens can be found. Regular and correct hand washing helps prevent infection.

Many people are currently concerned about the new corona virus. But other viruses can also be transmitted as droplet or smear infections, for example influenza (“real flu”), Pfeiffer glandular fever or gastrointestinal infections.

Washing hands properly - instructions

In these instructions we have summarized the tips of the WHO (World Health Organization), the Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Center for Health Education for you.

How to wash your hands properly:

1. hands under running water make wet. The water temperature should be warm and comfortable (not too hot).

2. Soap all around: Use enough soapto completely lather your hands. The WHO gives the following instructions for hand washing:

  • Rub your palms together until the soap foams.
  • Place the right palm over the back of the left hand and clean the spaces between the fingers with your fingers crossed. Then change the position of the hands.
  • Clean the spaces between the fingers from the other side, keeping the palms of the hands on top of each other.
  • Interlock your fingertips with each other by pointing the backs of your fingers towards the other palm of your hand.
  • Clasp your left thumb with your right hand and rub it in a rotating manner. Change hand.
  • Rub the fingertips on the palm of the other hand while rotating.

In this WHO video you can see how proper hand washing works:

3. Take your time: Washing your hands properly takes time at least 20 seconds, longer if your hands are dirty.

4. Rinse hands thoroughly under running water.

5. Thoroughly dry your hands, including the spaces between the fingers. If possible, use a single-use paper towel. At home, you should wash towels regularly at a temperature of at least 60 ° C.

We have summarized the most important information on how to wash your hands correctly in an info graphic. You can also download and print out the infographic on how to wash your hands properly as a PDF.

Graphics: Katrin Klingschat, created with Piktochart

When and how often should you wash your hands?

In general, you should wash your hands thoroughly in the following situations:

  • After using the toilet
  • Before and after preparing food
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

In times of acute flu waves or the current coronavirus outbreak, you can also wash your hands after using public transport or after attending an event with several people.

Also read: Make disinfectants yourself - 2 WHO recipes

Further rules of hygiene:

  • After washing your hands, it is best to use the disposable paper towel to turn off the tap.
  • Sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm or into a handkerchief. Use the handkerchief only once and dispose of it immediately.
  • Wash tissue handkerchiefs at 60 ° C.
  • When coughing or sneezing, keep at least 1 meter away from other people or turn away.
  • Never share nasal drops or sprays with other people.
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes or nose with your hands as much as possible.

Also worth reading: Rules of conduct when sneezing - What should I do if I have to sneeze?

Wash or disinfect your hands?

The WHO advises:

If the hands are not visibly dirty, clean them with an alcohol-based disinfectant. This is faster, more effective and easier on the skin.

Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or if your hands are visibly dirty.

Reading tip: disinfect the keyboard (instructions in 4 steps)

Further tips about hand disinfection:

  • Remember to take care of your hands. Disinfectants and soap remove fats from the skin. You should therefore regularly apply moisturizing skin creams.
  • It is not necessary to wash your hands with soap and disinfect them before or after. One variant is sufficient.
  • The water should not be too hot when washing your hands so as not to damage the skin.

Also interesting: a clean mobile phone display, cleaning and disinfecting

Further sources and information on the subject of "washing your hands properly":

Current reports, background information worth knowing and useful tips - in our dossier we bundle all articles on Corona.

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