Hand Washing / Sneeze & Cough Facts

Clean Hands Save Lives

Handwashing and Cough Etiquette are some of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. 

Hygiene etiquette involves practices that prevent the spread of illness and disease. One practice that helps prevent the spread of respiratory disease is avoiding close contact with people who are sick. If you are ill, you should try to distance yourself from others so you do not spread your germs. Distancing includes staying home from work or school when possible.  A critical time to practice good hygiene etiquette is when you are sick, especially when coughing or sneezing. Serious respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, influenza, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by: 

  • Clean Hands Saves LivesCoughing or sneezing 
  • Unclean hands
  • Touching your face after touching contaminated objects
  • Touching objects after contaminating your hands

To Stop The Spread of Germs

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put your used tissue in a waste basket.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

Remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.

How Germs Spread

  • Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
  • Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands
  • Touch a contaminated surface or objects
  • Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.  Hand sanitizers are not intended to replace handwashing in food production and retail settings.  Instead, hand sanitizers may be used in addition to or in combination with proper handwashing.  CDC recommends that everyone wash their hands with plain soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used if plain soap and water are not available.  Follow these five steps every time.

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Why? Read the Science Behind the Recommendations   

When to Wear Gloves: COVID-19

Keep Calm And Wash Your Hands Poster

Keeping Hands Clean / Handwashing

Hand Hygiene in Health Care Settings 

Hand Hygiene Poster  / Hand Hygiene Poster (Spanish)

Hand Hygiene Saves Lives Poster  Hand Hygiene Saves Lives Poster (Spanish)

Handwashing: Germs Are All Around You (Spanish)

Wash You Hands Poster (Chinese) (Spanish)

STICKERS: I Washed My Hands (print on Avery #5293 or equivalent)

Cough Cartoon Video