Keeping your hands clean is one of the most effective defenses against the spread of a virus, including COVID-19, as well as bacteria and germs, according to Dignity Health Medical Group, which has offered tips on the ways to most effectively wash and sanitize your hands to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Dr. Son Dong, a family medicine physician with Dignity Health Medical Group – North State, recommends you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap by thoroughly scrubbing your hands. He urged everyone to wash the front and back of their hands, in between fingers and under nails to reduce the possible spread of viruses and other illnesses. Doing so decreases the potential spread of illnesses and viruses that travel on surfaces, Dong said.

While many people carry hand sanitizer in their vehicles and purses to use throughout the day after touching surfaces, washing your hands properly with soap and water is probably more effective than any alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Dong said alcohol-based sanitizers might not attack certain viruses and bacteria, including norovirus or clostridium difficile. He added if you do not have access to clean water and soap then utilizing an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands with at least 60-percent alcohol is the next best option. Dong said be sure to use enough hand sanitizer so it is effective and rub it over the whole surface of both hands until they are completely dry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or using a tissue. They also recommend washing hands after being in a public place, as well as before and after caring for someone who is sick and before preparing or eating food.

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