Flu season is in full swing, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting increases in influenza activity over the past few weeks. The flu can affect individuals of any age but is particularly dangerous for children and the elderly. Thus, everyone in society has a responsibility to take precautions against spreading the flu. Keeping good hand hygiene is the first step in avoiding the influenza virus this year.
Use Appropriate Hand Washing Technique
A simple rinse of your hands under a stream of water just isn’t enough to cleanse them of viruses and bacteria. Instead, follow this scientifically tested method of ensuring hand hygiene. Begin by wetting your hands with water. The water can be hot or cold, as temperature does not affect the ability of hand washing to destroy germs. Then, turn off the tap and apply a small amount of soap to hands.
Rub your hands briskly together for at least 20 seconds. Focus on lathering the backs of hands, palms, under the nails, and between the fingers. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice in a row to ensure you scrub for sufficient time. Then, rinse your hands under a stream of water and dry them with a towel or air dryer.
Learn to Cough and Sneeze Correctly
Coughing and sneezing are prime ways for influenza virus to be transmitted between people. Learn to control the transmission of these diseases by changing the way you cough. Rather than coughing or sneezing into open hands, tuck your nose and mouth into the crook of your arm. This captures pathogen-laden droplets, preventing their spread. Also remember to wash hands after coughing or sneezing. This is a simple way to maximize infectious disease control.
Beware of Contaminated Surfaces
We touch hundreds of surfaces throughout the day. Many of these are contaminated with bacteria or viruses. For optimal hand hygiene, be careful about touching potentially contaminated surfaces. This may include keyboards, computer mice, doorknobs, drinking fountain handles, and other shared areas. To keep them clean, use environmentally conscious cleaning products such as those developed by EcoShield. Frequent biological cleaning of everyday objects can help keep hands clean.
Use Hand Sanitizer When Soap and Water are Unavailable
Sometimes, there is no easy way to wash hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizer makes an effective alternative. However, antibacterial hand sanitizers contain triclosan, an ingredient that may be damaging to the environment and human health. Opt for alcohol-based hand sanitizers that neutralize pathogens without impacting your well-being. For example, EcoShield has a proprietary line of hand sanitizers and other personal cleaning products that are appropriate for use at home or at work.
Stay Home When Sick
If you do contract the flu, stay at home. Running errands or going to work simply spreads the virus further, endangering others.