HANDWASHING, THE FLU, AND YOU
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting the flu (or a cold) is to wash your hands!
Despite the simplicity of handwashing, what people say and what they actually do may not be the same. In surveys conducted around the country 97% of females, and 92% of males, say they always wash their hands after using a public restroom. In reality, only 75% of females, and 58% of males, actually washed their hands. Another study showed that only 50% of middle-school students washed their hands after using the restroom at school.
Washing your hands is the first line of defense in preventing the transmission of germs that can cause the flu.
Hands that may look clean may, in fact, be covered with germs. Germs can be transferred to your hands as you go through your daily activities. Germs can be transmitted to your hands by contact with door knobs, restroom faucets and door handles, telephones, computer keyboards, shared toys, and any other surfaces that are touched frequently by others.
You can’t wash your hands too often throughout the day.
Even at home, hands should be washed after doing daily activities such as preparing or serving food, caring for a sick family member or pet, using the toilet, caring for a baby, handling a pet, blowing your nose/sneezing/coughing. When out in the public, wash hands after using public transportation, shaking hands with someone who is sick, or using a public restroom.
Wash your whole hand!
Germs are found on the entire surface of your hand including the back of the hand, between the fingers, under the fingernails, and wrists. Use soap and warm running water, thoroughly washing for 20 seconds. It is not necessary to use antibiotic soaps; normal bar or liquid soaps will work just as well. When using a public restroom, dry your hands with the paper towel and use it to turn off the faucet and open the restroom door.
When soap is not available use an alcohol based towelette or gel.
These are not as effective as handwashing in getting hands clean but will do in a pinch.