View of the Reno Sparks night skyline from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
View of the Reno Sparks night skyline from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

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Handwashing - The Most Effective Way to Prevent Disease Transmission

Image of hands washing with soap and water

Washing your hands is the most effective thing you can do to avoid catching many diseases and prevent passing them along to others. Follow these tips to help yourself - and others - stay well.

Wash your hands

Whenever they

  • Come into contact with body fluids (including vomit and saliva)
  • Are visibly soiled

Before

  • Preparing food
  • Eating food

After

  • Using toilet facilities
  • Changing diapers or helping a child at the toilet
  • Blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • Touching raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs
  • Handling an animal or animal waste
  • Handling garbage

Before and after

  • Treating a cut or wound
  • Tending to the sick

Follow these steps for effective handwashing

  1. Wet hands with warm, running water
  2. Apply soap
  3. Rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds (sing "Happy Birthday" twice)
  4. Rinse hands well under running water
  5. Dry hands using a paper towel or air dryer
  6. Use a paper towel rather than your fingers to turn off the faucet

It's Only Natural Hand Washing Poster

Download the poster.

Thank you for the interest in our new handwashing poster. It was designed to be utilized in a variety of environmental/health settings. If your organization has innovative ideas on hand washing hygiene, please feel free to share them with us! The Washoe County District Health Department has distributed this poster to various departments within the county, including schools, parks & recreation, child care facilities and food establishments. The Nevada Food Safety Task Force has distributed thousands of copies of this poster to various agencies throughout the State of Nevada. We are planning to have the poster available in Spanish for distribution in the future. For original copies of the poster, please contact us at 775-328-2434.

Find links to more posters and other handwashing resources.

Image credit: CDC/Kimberly Smith, Christine Ford
Hand washing, handwashing