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Hand washing

Germs can stay alive on our hands for up to three hours and in that time they can be spread to all the things we touch including food and other people.

Wash your hands before:

  • preparing food
  • eating
  • caring for the sick; changing dressings, giving medicines
  • looking after babies or the elderly
  • starting work; especially if you are a food handler or health professional
  • putting in contact lenses

Wash your hands between:

  • handling raw foods (meat, fish, poultry and eggs)
  • touching any other food or kitchen utensils

Wash your hands after:

  • handling raw foods, particularly meat, fish and poultry
  • going to the toilet
  • touching rubbish/waste bins
  • changing nappies
  • caring for the sick, especially those with gastro-intestinal disorders
  • coughing or sneezing, especially if you are sick
  • handling and stroking pets or farm animals
  • gardening - even if you wear gloves
  • cleaning cat litter boxes

 

 How to wash your hands

  • always use warm water. It's better to wet hands before applying soap as this prevents irritation
  • rub hands together vigorously for about 15 seconds, making sure both sides of the hands are washed thoroughly, around the thumbs, between each finger and around and under the nails
  • then, rinse with clean water
  • germs spread more easily if hands are wet so dry them thoroughly using a clean dry towel, paper towel or air dryer

 

Other Personal Hygiene Tips

  • if you are ill avoid handling foods for others

  • don't cough, sneeze, smoke or brush hair near food

  • cover all cuts, burns and sores changing dressings regularly especially for open wounds on hands and arms

  • avoid cooking in the kitchen in soiled clothing, use a clean apron but don't use it to wipe your hands on

  • if you are preparing lots of food perhaps take off your watch, rings and bracelets as well as washing your hands and wrists before you start