We all have heard that we should wash our hands to prevent spreading germs. But do we really know why, and how? It is indeed true that a good hand wash will help prevent the spread of germs, viruses, and illnesses which people, especially children, carry and pass around to each other. But we must be aware, and teach our children, that just a simple run of your hands under water. Get your hands wet, use a good amount of soap (plain or antibacterial will work), and scrub your hands. This should include the backs, palms, between fingers, wrists, and under fingernails. Then rinse well and dry. Scrubbing should be done for about 20 seconds, typically long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. This is a good way to teach your kids. A good alternative to washing during our busy days is to use a hand sanitizer. Again, apply, scrub for 20 seconds, and rub until dry. But when should we wash our hands? There are many answers to that question. We will start with those times when it is absolutely necessary to wash: after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing; being in close proximity or physical contact with a person who is sick; and anytime you return home from being in public (shopping, work, school). This list is comprised of those times when washing your hands is a really good idea, and should be done: petting animals or handling their waste; taking out or dealing with garbage; preparing eggs, poultry, raw meat, or seafood; using the bathroom or changing a diaper; and before and after doing first aid. Keeping your hands clean will prevent you from getting sick, and will also help prevent you from passing illnesses on to others. Stay healthy and safe, and remember to wash your hands.