How to wash your hands properly

One of our best weapons of protection to combat the spread of viruses and diseases is good hygiene. This starts with thorough hand-washing. This article offers NHS and World Health Organisation advice on how best to do so.

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Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from viruses.

Current advice from the NHS is that you should wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice (around 20 seconds).

You can watch an NHS film showing the correct technique with step-by-step instructions here:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

World Health Organisation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests washing your hands for one minute. See the film embedded below.

When should I wash my hands?

You should wash your hands:

  • after using the toilet or changing a nappy
  • before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
  • before eating or handling food
  • after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • before and after treating a cut or wound
  • after touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages

Hand Sanitiser

It should be pointed out that use of hand sanitisers should not be seen as a substitute for washing hands thoroughly with soap and water. As the WHO states at the start of this film, hand sanitisers are not appropriate when hands are visibly dirty or after using the toilet. In these cases use soap and water and the technique above.