Surprising Facts about Hand-washing and Flu Prevention

Unwashed hands may be the culprit behind many influenza outbreaks.

The flu shot may be one of the most powerful prevention tools against the flu, but it is not 100 percent effective. Staying well this winter requires a more thorough battle plan. There is a simple habit you can form today if you're dodging the flu around your school or office: wash your hands well, and wash them often.

No other body part collects external germs the way your hands do. You are constantly touching door handles, railings, and other public surfaces that are layered with potential health hazards. Then what happens? You rub your eyes, wipe your nose, or even use those unwashed fingers to pop a piece of gum into your mouth! According to the New York Times, hand-to-face contact accounts for one-third of the risk for flu. It's time to start washing your hands, frequently and effectively. These guidelines will help.

When to wash hands:

  • Before preparing food
  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After coming into contact with a sick person
  • After touching communal surfaces
  • Before touching your face
  • At least every couple hours

How to properly wash hands:

  • Use warm water.
  • Take your time. The longer you spend scrubbing the better. Aim for at least 20 seconds.
  • Pay special attention to the spots under your nails and between the fingers.
  • Use a paper towel to open the door of a public restroom when you're finished.
  • Have hand sanitizer on hand for times when soap and water are unavailable.

If you're experiencing a high fever or other serious flu symptoms, you don't have to wait for your doctor's office to open on Monday morning. Our Urgent Care Center has you covered – no appointment necessary. Learn more at our website.

Related Posts:

How to Prevent the Flu

Immunization Checklist—Important Vaccines for Kids and Adults

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