Over the course of a day, your hands touch a lot of things that may have been contaminated by viruses or bacteria. When you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands, you increase your risk of developing an infection such as the flu, COVID-19 or gastroenteritis.

Washing your hands is an excellent way to avoid contaminating yourself and others.

It is particularly important to wash your hands in the following instances:

  • When your hands are visibly dirty
  • Before and after handling food
  • Before eating
  • Before taking medication
  • Before wearing or removing your contact lenses
  • After coughing or sneezing
  • After blowing your nose, or that of a child
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing a child’s diaper
  • After handling garbage
  • After touching pets or their toys
  • After being in a public place

General tips

  • Wash your hands often
  • Teach your children and people around you to wash their hands properly
  • Encourage them to do so often
  • Make sure there is soap or an antiseptic product in your surroundings: in toilets, in your workplace and at places where you eat
  • Avoid wearing gloves. Wearing gloves increases the risk of contaminating surfaces and can spread germs. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently and properly

Hand washing techniques

You can wash your hands with soap and water or with an antiseptic product. Soap and water must be used when your hands are visibly dirty.

Washing hands with soap and water

Use ordinary soap. It is not necessary to use antibacterial soap.

1. Wet your hands with warm water.

2. Apply soap.

3. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.

4. Wash all surfaces of your hands, including your nails, thumbs and between your fingers.

5. Rinse your hands with running tap water.

6. Carefully dry your hands.

7. If possible, turn the tap off with paper or a towel.

Washing with an antiseptic product

An antiseptic, such as Purell® or Bacti Control®, is a product that kills germs. Such products come in the form of gels, foams or liquids.

Use an alcohol based antiseptic. To be effective, the concentration of alcohol in the product must be at least 60%.

Warning for children

Keep antiseptic products out of reach of small children. They must be used under adult supervision.

How to use an antiseptic product

1. Put enough antiseptic product in the palm of your hand to cover all the surfaces of your hands and wrists.

2. Rub the tips of your fingers

3. Rub the inside of your hands and your thumbs

4. Rub between your fingers

5. Rub the back of your hands

Continue rubbing until your hands have dried, without wiping.

Last update: December 11, 2020


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