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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Common Cold Prevention

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How Much Hand Washing Is Enough to Prevent Colds?

You should wash hands often throughout the day. For example, do it before and after you eat, after using the bathroom, after school, and after handling any raw meat, unwashed vegetables, or garbage.

Also wash your hands after coughingsneezing, blowing your nose, or touching your pet. If you're babysitting, wash before and after changing a baby's diapers and before and after feedings.

What if I'm Not Near a Sink?

Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer for hands if a sink is unavailable. It should be at least 60% alcohol.

Rub the entire surface of your hands, fingers, and wrist with the sanitizer until dry. You can use this throughout the day if you're not near a bathroom. Follow up with a thorough hand scrub when you're near a sink to prevent buildup of the sanitizer.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on September 26, 2014
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