Handwashing is an essential skill for children and adults of all ages.
Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu.
If you do not have immediate access to soap and water then use alcohol-based hand rub if available.
When should you wash your hands?
You should wash your hands:
- after using the toilet
- before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
- before eating or handling food
- after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
- before and after treating a cut or wound
- after touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages
Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as food poisoning, flu or diarrhoea.
It can help stop people picking up infections and spreading them to others.
It can also help stop spreading infections when you're visiting someone in hospital or another healthcare setting.