Health Department

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.

703-246-2411
TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.,
Director of Health

Handwashing

Washing your hands is the most important and easiest action you can take to lower your chance of getting sick and spreading illness. Frequent and proper handwashing kills the germs that cause:

  • Gastrointestinal illnesses, such as norovirus and E. coli
  • Influenza
  • COVID-19
  • The common cold
  • Strep throat
  • Staph infection
  • Pink eye
  • — and many other diseases

Using Hand Sanitizer

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. However, if soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as an alternative. 

4 important things to know about using hand sanitizer correctly:

  1. Use hand sanitizer that contains 60% or more alcohol (ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol).  
  2. It takes at least 30 seconds for hand sanitizer to kill the virus. Make sure that you are rubbing hands together for at least 30 seconds so that the gel gets all over your hands, in between fingers, on fingertips, under nails, etc.  
  3. Let hands dry on their own. Do not wipe away hand sanitizer.
  4. Hand sanitizers may not always be effective. They do not get rid of all types of germs or chemicals and they should be avoided when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

These products are widely available, but it doesn’t mean that they come without risks. You should never drink hand sanitizer. Drinking only a small amount of hand sanitizer is potentially lethal to a young child. 

Hand sanitizers are regulated as over-the-counter (non-prescription) drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When using these products, you should always read and follow the Drug Facts label and pay attention to the warnings section. Protect yourself and your family by reading the labels and checking the FDA’s Do-Not-Use List. If you have a product on this list, you should dispose of it immediately. Learn more on the FDA website.

Spread the Word ⁠— Not Germs!

Download and display a handwashing poster 

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Fairfax Virtual Assistant