Hand Washing




Slideshow: What are the six steps to proper handwashing?

Fight the Spread of Germs

In addition to proper handwashing, here are three more ways to stop the spread of germs:

  1. Get an annual flu vaccine.
  2. Cover your coughs and sneezes the proper way.
  3. Stay home when sick.

Hand Washing Materials

Big hand on cover of Pamphlet -Wash your Hands The  Health Department's public education campaign: Your Health is In Your Hands: WASH promotes proper hand washing with educational materials; and hand washing education at health fairs and other community events. Call the Health Department for more information at 703-246-2411, TTY 711.

Visit the resources page for printable "Wash Your Hands" signs and brochures, as well as other educational publications.

Why Wash Your Hands

Washing hands is the most important and easiest action we can take to prevent getting sick and spreading illness.

Frequent and proper hand washing kills the germs that cause:

  • Hands being washedgastro-intestinal illnesses, such as norovirus and E. coli
  • influenza
  • the common cold
  • Strep throat
  • Staph infection
  • pink eye
  • many other diseases

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good alternative when soap and water are not available to wash hands.

When to Wash

Hands should always be washed BEFORE:
  • touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • inserting or removing contact lenses
  • preparing food
  • eating
20 sec logoHands should always be washed AFTER:
  • using the toilet
  • coughing, sneezing or using a tissue
  • eating, drinking or smoking
  • touching cuts, burns or infected areas on the skin
  • handling raw meat and poultry
  • changing diapers
  • touching animals
  • touching public surfaces like door handles, gas pumps, shopping carts, etc.

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