Flu Season

Help decrease the spread of infectious diseases during this, National Handwashing Awareness Week. This year’s observance runs from December 5 through December 10. During this time, health professionals the world over will be reminding patients and the population at large about steps they can take to decrease the spread of the flu, colds and other contagious disease.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the simple act of frequent handwashing has the potential to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention and is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. The CDC shares these tips for handwashing:

How to wash hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  • Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

When to wash hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal food or waste
  • After touching garbage

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to kill germs. However, if soap and water are not to be found, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol can reduce some germs. It should not be a substitute for handwashing with soap and water.

For more from the CDC on handwashing guidelines, see the following:

Hand hygiene in healthcare settings

Hand hygiene to help prevent flu

Cover your cough

Kids may benefit from handwashing games and activities catered to their age group. The Henry the Hand Foundation provides tips from Henry the Hand that make handwashing fun and effective at the same time.

Provide by The Pulse – Health and Wellness Resource Center


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