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updated: 10/15/2012 11:17 AM

Wash away infectious diseases

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--Oct. 15 is Global Hand Washing Day, and the DuPage County Health Department reminds county residents that washing your hands is the single most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others.

Infectious diseases, including influenza, are the leading cause of death worldwide, and the third-leading cause of death in the United States, yet many of these serious illnesses could be prevented by proper hygiene.

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Washing hands with soap and clean water for 20 seconds (about the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday") is the best strategy for fighting germs. If soap and clean water are not available, an alcohol-based hand hygiene product is the next best thing.

Follow these simple steps:

Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap.

Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.

Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Rinse hands well under running water.

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

When to wash hands:

Before, during and after preparing food and before eating food.

When caring for someone who is sick.

After using the toilet, as well as after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.

After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

After handling an animal or after touching garbage.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.

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