It may sound like simple advice, but it works. Washing your hands can help prevent you and your family from getting the flu. In fact, washing your hands is the single most important thing that you can to do keep from getting sick and spreading illness, according to the PKids website.
How to Wash
Washing your hands and washing them effectively can be two different things. The right way to wash is to use soap and clean running water, and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wash the palms of your hands, your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails. Although soap and water are preferable, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the best thing to do if you do not have access to soap and water, according to the PKids website.
How to Dry
It is best to dry your hands completely with a clean towel. Wet hands tend to attract more germs than dry hands do. In public restrooms, it is best to leave the water running while you dry your hands with a paper towel, according to WebMD. Hold the paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the bathroom door. Dispose of the paper towel.
The flu season typically lasts from November to March, and 10 to 20 percent of Americans typically get it in any given year. Children are two to three times more likely to get the flu than adults are and are more likely to spread the virus.
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley discovered that the students they studied touched their faces, on average, 47 times in a three-hour period, according to “The New York Times.” Touching your hands to your face, particularly your eyes, has a big impact on health, accounting for about one-third of flu cases, estimates Dr. Mark Nicas, professor of environmental health sciences at Berkeley.
H1N1 (Swine Flu) Virus
Washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizers effectively eliminates the H1N1 flu virus, according to “The New York Times.” In February 2009, researchers in Australia, put the same amount of the H1N1 virus on volunteers’ hands that they would get by wiping their runny nose if they were infected with the virus. The volunteers did not wash their hands, and large amounts of the virus remained after an hour. When volunteers did wash their hands with both soap and water or a hand sanitizer, they effectively eliminated the virus from their hands.
- washing hands image by Julia Britvich from Fotolia.com