The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that at least 17 million people have gotten the flu this season and that 13,000 to 22,000 deaths have been reported.
Getting vaccinated and avoiding contact with those who are sick are two steps you can take to prevent the spread of viral and bacterial infections.
But one of the most important steps is also one of the simplest: wash your hands regularly and do it correctly.
- First, wet your hands with clean running water, turn off the tap, then apply a generous amount of soap and begin rubbing them together.
- Rub in between your fingers and around each finger, and massage the tips of your fingers against your palms.
- Also, remember to wash under your nails.
- Scrub the top of your hands and your wrists for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have a clock or timer nearby, sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while hand-washing. Soap and friction help lift dirt, grease and germs from your skin, including germs that cause disease, so you can easily rinse them off under running water.
- Dry your hands with a paper towel or air dry them. Use the paper towel to close the faucet.
The CDC says washing with soap and water is the best way to reduce germs on your hands. But if soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.