October 11, 2019
October is the month when influenza activity begins, often peaking between December and February, although activity can last as late as May. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of cold and flu germs is by washing your hands often.
The CDC recommends cleaning hands in a specific way to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. The guidance for effective handwashing and the use of hand sanitizers was developed based on data from several CDC studies.
Follow these five steps to wash your hands the right way:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Although washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations, if soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, such as Purell®, as it can kill 99.9 percent of the most common germs that cause illness.
The CDC recommends the following steps on the proper use of hand sanitizers:
- Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
As the CDC points out, hand washing doesn't take much time or effort, but it certainly is a win-win for everyone, except the germs!
For more information about when and how to wash your hands, visit:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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