Back to School Basics for Stopping the Spread of Germs

August 3, 2009

How to Stop the Spread of Germs

Keeping hands clean is the most important step that we can take to keep from getting sick. When hands are visibly dirty wash your hands in soap and running water for 15-20 seconds.  Alcohol-based sanitizers are also effective to use.  They reduce the number of germs on the skin and are fast acting.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends looking for a sanitizer with at least a 60% alcohol content.

Steps for Hand Washing

1-Wet your hands with warm water

2-Apply Soap

3-Rub hands together, and don’t forget between the fingers, for 15-20 seconds. (Instead of counting remember to sing the Happy Birthday song twice).  

4-Rinse your hands

5-Dry you hands with a paper towel

6-Turn water off with a paper towel

Steps for Using Alcohol Sanitizers

1-Use enough sanitizer to coat entire surface of hands

2-Rub you hands till the sanitizer is dry

Cover Your Mouth and Nose When Coughing or Sneezing

Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away.  If you do not have a tissue, remember to use the bend of your elbow or upper sleeve, not your hands.

Remind Your Children to Practice Healthy Habits

Discuss these tips on how to stay well with your kids.  Talk to them about when it is necessary to wash their hands.  Have them think about hand hygiene the next time they…

*Touch a doorknob

*Use a computer keyboard or mouse

*Shake hands or high-five

*Borrow a pencil

*Touch their eyes or mouth

*Use the bathroom

*Before and after eating food

*After using the toilet

*After handling an animal or animal waste

*After handling garbage

Let Kids Have Fun with Germ Prevention!

The American Red Cross has a fun, interactive website that can help teach your kids about preventing the spread of germs:


Guidance information obtained from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more, please visit