Why washing your hands is important

By:Ryan Mazzei, Ruben Alfaro

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.

  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.

  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.

  • Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.

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 toilet

  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

  • After handling pet food or pet treats

  • After touching garbage

previnting sickness

Preventing sickness reduces the amount of antibiotics people use and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. Handwashing can prevent about 30% of diarrhea-related illnesses and about 20% of respiratory infections (e.g., colds) 1,2 . Antibiotics often are prescribed unnecessarily for these health issues 3. Reducing the number of these infections by washing hands frequently helps prevent the overuse of antibiotics—the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Hand Washing can also prevent people from getting sick with germs that are already resistant to antibiotics and that can be difficult to treat. As we've shown you Washing your hands is very important to our health it keeps us from getting ourselves and/or other people sick.