Washing your hands properly is the first line of defense against spreading not just the common cold, but many other more serious illnesses, such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, the flu, hepatitis A and most cases of diarrhea.
The webpage Kidshealth offers some recommendations for making this a conscious and properly executed habit: use soap and rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds, be sure to wash the area between your fingers well and under the nails where germs hide, rinse your hands and dry them well with a clean, dry towel.
In order to reduce germs from spreading among family members, the webpage also stresses the importance of establishing frequent hand-washing as a rule for everyone, especially after:
- Eating and cooking
- Going to the bathroom
- Cleaning the house
- Touching animals including family pets
- Visiting or taking care of friends or family members that are sick
- Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- Being outside (playing, gardening)