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Handwashing at Home, at Play, and Out and About

When should you wash your hands?

Handwashing at any time of the day can help get rid of germs, but
there are key times when it’s most important to wash your hands

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the bathroom, changing diapers, or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal food or treats, animal cages, or animal feces (poop)
  • After touching garbage
  • If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy
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Hand Hygiene Saves Lives

Each year in the United States, patients get more than a million infections in the hospital while being treated for something else. The best way to help prevent infection is to practice proper hand hygiene. Hand Hygiene Saves Lives shows how patients can play an active role in reminding healthcare providers to practice hand hygiene in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
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Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use at Home, at Play, and Out and About

There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water
and cleaning them with hand sanitizer. For example, alcohol-based hand
sanitizers don’t kill ALL types of germs, such as a stomach bug called norovirus,
some parasites, and Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhea. Hand
sanitizers also may not remove harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and
heavy metals like lead. Handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs,
pesticides, and metals on hands. Knowing when to clean your hands and which
method to use will give you the best chance of preventing sickness.
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“The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic,
especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other
partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of
the local community”

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How to Protect Yourself and Others

Know how it spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
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When to wear gloves

“For the general public, CDC recommends wearing gloves when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick.”

In most other situations, like running errands, wearing gloves is not necessary. Instead, practice everyday preventive actions like keeping social distance (at least 6 feet) from others, washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol), and wearing a cloth face covering when you have to go out in public.”

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Important Information About Your Cloth Face Coverings

Cloth face coverings may prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading respiratory droplets when talking, sneezing, or coughing.

If everyone wears a cloth face covering when out in public, such as going to the grocery store, the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can be reduced for the community.

Since people may spread the virus before symptoms start, or even if people never have symptoms, wearing a cloth face covering may protect others around you.

Face coverings worn by others may protect you from getting the virus from people carrying the virus

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Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings

“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

*Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. *Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance