Clean your hands often and avoid touching your face

Clean your hands often and avoid touching your face

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

It is important to frequently clean your hands using soap and water, especially before eating and after being in public.1,2 This helps get rid of the virus.

Table of Contents

  1. How to wash your hands
  2. References

1. How to wash your hands 

Source: The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Handwashing Heroes Video for Kids

In order to make data available for Canadians, people living in the United States, and the rest of the world, we included information from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. See below for information about cleaning your hands from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization.

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
  • Use warm water and soap to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use a hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol when soap and water are not accessible.  
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hand, instead use a tissue or the bend of your arm. As soon as possible, throw away used tissues into a lined waste container and immediately wash your hands. 
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that are unwashed.

Read more here: 

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Spend at least 20 seconds while washing your hands with soap and water.

Some examples of important scenarios to wash hands include:

  • Before eating or cooking food
  • Before touching your face. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • After you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose 

When soap and water are unavailable, use 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.

Children younger than 6 should be supervised as they use hand sanitizer to prevent poison emergencies. 

Hand hygiene in school

  • Allocate time during the day for children to wash their hands (e.g. after bathroom breaks, before meals) 
  • After using the washroom, always wash hands with soap and water instead of using hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based prevents the spread of COVID-19 but does not kill germs that cause diarrhea. 
  • When using hand sanitizer, dispense the product onto your hands, and rub the hand sanitizer onto all parts of your hands. Continue rubbing your hands until they are dry. 

Read more here: 

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Protect Yourself. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cleaning, Disinfection, and Hand Hygiene in Schools. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/clean-disinfect-hygiene.html
World Health Organization (WHO)

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as your hands may have touched contaminated surfaces and may transfer the virus, resulting in infection. 

Follow hand hygiene practices frequently through washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Only a coin-sized amount of hand sanitizer is necessary. 

Ensure that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are:

  • Stored out of children’s reach
  • Not used before handling fire or cooking, given the santizer’s flammable nature
  • Not ingested

Children should be supervised and taught how to apply the sanitizer. The touching of your eyes, mouth and nose should be avoided promptly after use of hand sanitizer to avoid irritation. 

It is encouraged to create a schedule for frequent hand hygiene for children to follow when in school.

Read more here: 

  1. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
  2. World Health Organization. Considerations for school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/considerations-for-school-related-public-health-measures-in-the-context-of-covid-19%20%EF%BB%BF

2. References

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Disclaimer: The information regarding COVID-19 is changing constantly as more data become available. The information provided in this website is not meant to replace diabetes healthcare team or public health agencies recommendations, and is intended for information purposes only. Please check with your healthcare providers for any deviations from your care plans.


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