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It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Hand Washing

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Hand washing is important.  Washing your hands is the most significant step for preventing the spread of germs and illness. Start Healthy Hand Washing Habits Today!

Wash your hands as often as possible (even if they look clean)

Here are some important instances when to wash your hands to help control the spread of illness:

  • After using the bathroom
  • After coughing or sneezing
  • After cleaning a child who has gone to the bathroom
  • After touching books and money
  • Before preparing food
  • Before eating
  • After petting an animal

Why does washing your hands with soap and water work?

  • Soap suspends the dirt and skin oils that trap bacteria
  • Washing motion helps pull dirt and oils free from the skin
  • Running water washes away suspended dirt and oils
  • Additional friction from wiping hands removes more germs

Note: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer wipes or gel.

Hand washing information

  1. Wet hands
  2. Apply soap
  3. Rub soapy hands for 20 seconds
  4. Scrub fingertips & between fingers
  5. Scrub forearm to just below elbow
  6. Rinse forearms & hands
  7. Use towel to dry hands & forearms
  8. Turn off water with towel & throw towel away


Florida Department of Health's Youtube Video on Handwashing:

Rules for staying healthy

In addition to always washing your hands with soap and warm water:

  • Stay away from anyone with a cold or flu
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Visit your doctor and dentist yearly
  • Get your shots as scheduled and recommended by your doctor, especially an annual flu shot
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