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HHS HealthBeat (November 30, 2012)

Twenty seconds to clean

A person washes their hands with soap and water.

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Wash Your Hands

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Nicholas Garlow with HHS HealthBeat.

We all trade germs. And germs lead to illnesses like colds and pneumonia. Washing your hands can help. Children trade even more germs than adults, so it’s important that kids wash too, ideally with the help of an adult. Remember these three things when you wash – use soap, scrub all surfaces of your hands, and wash for 20 seconds.

Dr. Anna Bowen is a researcher with CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

 “Key times include when people are handling food, eating, feeding another person such as a young child, and after toileting or changing a child’s diaper – and after handling pets or pet foods.” (15)

If you’re on the go, hand sanitizers help – but they’re not as effective, so use them in addition to washing hands.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Nicholas Garlow.

Last revised: November 30, 2012