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COVID-19 Preventative Measures: Clean Your Hands Often



Authors as Published

Renee Boyer, Professor and Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; and Ben Chapman, Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


1. Wet your hands with clean, running water

2. Apply soap

3. Lather and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds

4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running wate

5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them


  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Before and after caring for someone that is sick
  • After going to the bathroom 
  • Before and after preparing food 
  • During food preparation as needed 
  • Before eating food
  • Before putting on a face covering and after removing/handling a used face covering


If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

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Updated April 27, 2020

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Publication Date

March 17, 2020