Southeastern Idaho Public Health


There's nothing like a clean set of hands.

According to the Centers for Disase Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine-it involves five simple and effective steps (think Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. The CDC estimates that about 90% of all communicable diseases can be prevented by good hygiene.

To assist you in understanding the benefits of hand washing and respiratory etiquette please review the information below.

  • Up to half of all men and a quarter of women fail to wash their hands after they use the bathroom.
  • Right Handed people tend to wash their left hand more thoroughly than their right, and visa versa.
  • We have between 2 and 10 million bacteria between our finger tip and elbow.
  • Damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands.
  • The number of germs on your fingertips doubles after you use the toilet.
  • Germs can stay alive on hands for up to three hours.
  • Millions of germs hide under watches and bracelets, and there could be as many germs under your ring as there are people in Europe!

Hand Washing Posters

  Fun Hand Facts Poster
  Cover Your Cough
  Infection Prevention - Start With Your Hands (brochure)
  The Places We Miss When Washing!
  What Germs Are On Your Hands?


  Henry the Hand - Champion Handwasher
  PKIDs Online - Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases
  Nemours Foundation - KidsHealth
  Education World - The Educator's Best Friend
  FIGHT BAC! Keep Food Safe From Bacteria

Links & Downloads

  CDC Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives from Nemours
  Center for Disease Control - BAM! (Body and Mind)
  NSF Scrub Club