Germs can live for hours outside the body.

    • They land on surfaces after being breathed out.
    • They get on infected people’s hands when they cough and sneeze or touch their face.
    • They stay on surfaces that people with the virus have touched.

    You then get viruses on your hands by touching an infected person or surface e.g., a cup, door handle, stair rail, mobile phone, computer keyboard.

    The virus gets into your body when you touch your face – such as when eating, rubbing your eyes or using a phone.

    A series of pictures showing the spread of germs after a person sneezes into their hand and then touches a door handle. The door handle is then touched by someone else who becomes unwell too.

      Everyone knows how to wash their hands, but research shows that it is easy to miss bits, which means missing viruses.

      Soap and Water

      • Wet your hands and use enough soap to cover them completely.
      • Rub the palms and back of your hands.
      • Rub the tips of your fingers and in-between them.
      • Washing should take at least 20 seconds.
      • Rinse with running water.
      • Dry hands on a clean towel, a disposable towel or under a dryer.
      Hand washing under tap

      Hand Gel

      Washing hand using sanitizer
      • Squeeze some gel the size of your thumbnail into the palm of your hand.
      • Spread it all over your hands.
      • Rub the palms and back of your hands.
      • Rub between your fingers and on the tips.
      • Keep rubbing your hands until they are dry – for at least 20 seconds.

      Hand gel needs to have at least 60% alcohol in it to kill viruses. The contents are usually listed on the back of the bottle.