Healthy Habits


Hand washing is the single most important prevention step for reducing disease transmission. 

How to Wash Hands
  • Wet hands with running water; place soap in palms; rub together to make a lather; scrub hands vigorously for 20 seconds; rinse soap off hands.
  • If possible, turn off the faucet by using a disposable paper towel.
  • Dry hands with a disposable paper towel. Do not dry hands on clothing.

Hand-Washing Agents

  • Liquid soap dispensed by a hand or foot pump is recommended.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used if soap and water cannot be made available and are effective against multiple common disease agents (e.g., shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter). However, they are ineffective against certain organisms (e.g., bacterial spores, Cryptosporidium, and certain viruses).
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a concentration of 60% or higher to be effective against common disease agents.
  • Hand sanitizers are less effective if hands are visibly soiled. Therefore, visible contamination and dirt should be removed to the extent possible before using hand sanitizers.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends various non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent illness, among them hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and not sharing eating utensils and cups.  For more information, see the CDC website:

Questions?  Call the Stevens Student Health Center at 201.216.5678.