Handwashing works

Avoid the flu and prevent infection by washing your hands properly.

Flu season is here again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are tens of thousands of deaths each year from the flu and pneumonia. Handwashing is considered the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection. That is why food safety programs presented through Michigan State University Extension teach people about the importance of handwashing.

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. Think about everything you touch throughout the day:  keyboards, door handles, toilets, faucets, etc. No matter what you touch, you come in contact with germs. By washing your hands often, you wash away the germs you pick up.   

There is definitely a need for improvement when it comes to washing hands after using the bathroom. A study from Michigan State University showed that just 5 percent of people properly washed their hands after using the bathroom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wash their hands with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds.

Handwashing involves five easy and effective steps: 

  1. Wet your hands with running water and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap.
  3. Scrub all surfaces of your hands for at least 10 to 15 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands under running water.
  5. Dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel or air dry them.

These steps can help reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness. Regular handwashing is the easiest way to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.

The Center for Disease Control recommends following these six simple steps to keep healthy during this cold and flu season:

  1. Avoid close contact with people.
  2. Stay home when sick.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  4. Wash your hands frequently.
  5. Avoid touching your lips, nose and mouth.
  6. Clean and disinfect surfaces at home, work and school.

Following these tips to help stop germs is quick, simple and can protect you and your family from getting sick.

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