URL of this page: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/germsandhygiene.html

Germs and Hygiene


When you cough or sneeze, you send tiny germ-filled droplets into the air. Colds and flu usually spread that way. You can help stop the spread of germs by

  • Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Cleaning your hands often - always before you eat or prepare food, and after you use the bathroom or change a diaper
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Hand washing is one of the most effective and most overlooked ways to stop disease. Soap and water work well to kill germs. Wash for at least 20 seconds and rub your hands briskly. Disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers also work well.

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