Washing your hands with soap and water is the typical option when it comes to hand sanitization. Usually that is enough to handle the bacteria and viruses you might encounter around your home. But what about when you are traveling or headed through an airport or other public setting? Imagine the amount of surfaces you will touch that so many others have also. Then it's so easy to forget when you need to grab a quick bite or take a pen cap off with your mouth. It's a good idea and all around best practice to have hand sanitizer available to yourself or guests should you need it.
When it comes to typical hand washing, most experts would recommend washing with hot water and soap for at least 40 seconds. There are so many crevices and parts to our hands, fingers and wrists, you'd think that it would take at least a couple minutes. You can boost the effectiveness of that hand washing with some hand sanitization after you dry your hands.
The Flu Season
Seasonal flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It spreads between people in public settings and can cause mild to severe illness. In some cases, the flu can lead to death in the elderly, young or those with pre-existing health conditions. In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter but outbreaks are possible at anytime. Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May.
Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.
Protect Yourself During Flu Season
Taking these steps to help protect yourself from the flu could help you to avoid great discomfort and protect your attendance to better things.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water thoroughly and frequently.
- Dry your hands with a clean paper towel, from a touch-free dispenser if possible.
- Sanitize your hands with a quality alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
See links below for additional information:
CDC - Influenza
CDC – Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report
Mayo Clinic - Influenza