Even if your hands appear to be clean, they may carry germs. Hands pick up micro-organisms (germs) in a number of ways. When people who are sick sneeze or cough, the germs that are making them sick are expelled into the air in tiny droplets. If these droplets get onto your hands, and then you touch your mouth, eyes or nose without washing away the germs, you can pick up the infection. You can also get sick if you don't wash your hands before and after preparing food, after handling raw meat and after using the toilet.
Washing your hands not only prevents you from getting sick, it reduces the risk of infecting others. If you don't wash your hands properly before coming into contact with others, you can infect them with the germs on your hands. Other people can also get sick from the germs that unwashed hands leave on shared objects such as doorknobs, keyboards and other equipment in the home or workplace.