Proper Hand Hygiene: A Simple Step to Staying Healthy

Singing to yourself while you wash your hands may sound silly, but it is one way to ensure that hand washing is done long enough to clean the entire surface of your hands.

“With influenza still being reported at elevated levels across the state and coronavirus emerging as a public health concern, people need to practice good respiratory hygiene,” said Dr. Tinguely, Chief Medical Officer for Falls Community Health and the Sioux Falls Health Department. “It is especially important to cover our coughs and sneezes, wash our hands frequently, and stay home if we’re sick.”

When done correctly, hand washing prevents the spread of germs, helping keep you and others healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a four-step process:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water. To save water, turn off the tap while applying soap.
  2. For at least 20 seconds, scrub your hands. That’s about the amount of time it takes to sing “happy birthday” twice.
  3. Rinse your hands well.
  4. Dry your hands using a clean towel.

For more information on proper respiratory hygiene, visit

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