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Proper Hand-Washing is Number One

When it comes to stopping the spread of germs and contaminants, handwashing is one of the best tools we have. In fact, it is the best weapon to fight and kill germs. When an outbreak of any kind occurs, we need to heighten focus on handwashing. Now is a good time to review proper procedures and practices for handwashing.


Relearn how to wash your hands, review cough and sneeze etiquette, and get the facts about face masks.

Reinforce and remind yourself, residents, and staff about hand washing best practices. Remind staff members that their personal wellness and safety is also important. Encourage them to reach out if they have questions or concerns.

Watch or share this video, put this flyer on handwashing from ServSafe up in kitchen areas, and share the CDC’s instructions:

  • Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash hands often, but especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Hang posters in public places for staff, residents, family members, and other visitors to see. Here is a link to several you can download from the CDC website.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol.
  • You may want to place hand sanitizer on dining room tables or in outside dining areas, for residents who can use hand sanitizer safely.
  • Emphasize the need for employees to know WHEN and HOW to wash their hands. Communicate that hand washing cannot be done too often.
  • Be sure employees understand the effective use of alcohol gel and hand sanitizers and how that fits in with hand washing.

Cough, sneeze, and distance etiquette:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then dispose of it in a trash can, preferably one with a touchless lid opener.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This makes it more difficult for the virus to get from a surface to yourself.
  • Check your community for supplies of tissues, touchless trash cans, hand sanitizer, and soap.
  • Practice social distance: Keep about three feet between yourself and anyone coughing or sneezing.
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