As the flu seasons knocks on our doors, the Centers for Disease Control are reminding everyone that the easiest way to keep healthy and safe is to wash your hands – especially during flu season!
Here’s a flyer – Everyday Preventive Actions That Can Help Fight Germs, Like Flu 2018 – about the need to be diligent about washing your hands during flue season.
Here’s more information from the CDC:
Germs are everywhere! They can get onto your hands and items you touch
throughout the day. Washing hands at key times with soap and water
is one of the most important steps you can take to get rid of germs and
avoid spreading germs to those around you.
How can washing your hands keep you healthy?
Germs can get into the body through our eyes, nose, and mouth and make
us sick. Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands and helps
prevent sickness. Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in
3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a
cold or the flu.
Handwashing helps prevent infections for these reasons:
People often touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without realizing it, introducing germs into their bodies.
Germs from unwashed hands may get into foods and drinks when
people prepare or consume them. Germs can grow in some types
of foods or drinks and make people sick.
Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects,
such as door knobs, tables, or toys, and then transferred to
another person’s hands.
What is the right way to wash your hands?
- Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
- Scrub all surfaces of your hands, including the palms, backs, fingers,
between your fingers, and under your nails. Keep scrubbing for at least
20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
When should you wash your hands?
Handwashing at any time of the day can help get rid of germs, but
there are key times when it’s most important to wash your hands.
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the bathroom, changing diapers, or cleaning up a child
who has used the bathroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal food or treats, animal cages, or
animal feces (poop)
- After touching garbage
- If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy
What type of soap should you use?
You can use bar soap or liquid soap to wash your hands. Many public places provide liquid soap because it’s easier and cleaner to share with others. Studies have not found any added health benefit from using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients when compared with plain soap. Both
are equally effective in getting rid of germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
How does handwashing help fight antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria resist the effects of an
antibiotic – that is, germs are not killed and they continue to grow.
Sicknesses caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be harder to
treat. Simply using antibiotics creates resistance, so avoiding infections
in the first place reduces the amount of antibiotics that have to be
used and reduces the likelihood that resistance will develop during
treatment. Handwashing helps prevent many sicknesses, meaning less
use of antibiotics.
Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.
For more information and a video demonstration of how to wash your hands, visit the CDC handwashing website: www.cdc.gov/handwashing