hand washing to prevent flu and cold

Hand Washing to Get You Through Flu Season

The dreaded flu season is swiftly approaching. If you feel that you are constantly getting sick each fall and winter, it may be time to reevaluate your health routines. Community Health Network can provide you with some helpful tips.

When to Wash Your Hands

Always wash your hands before preparing, cooking or eating food. Wash your hands before and after handling food or touching your mouth. You should wash your hands more frequently during flu season, and be sure to do so after grocery shopping, touching public handles or contact with other shared surfaces. Another tip to consider is covering your cough. When you do, always cough into a tissue or your inner elbow. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises to avoid coughing into your hand as you are likely to touch other surfaces. The inner elbow has a lower risk of spreading germs.

Pick a Soap

If you’re overwhelmed by all the different soaps available for purchase, worry no longer. Until recently, the market was crowded with various soaps claiming to offer antibacterial properties that did a better job at staving off illness. In 2016, the FDA banned these soaps after finding that they offered no additional benefit over regular soap.

In short, any soap you buy will help you avoid the flu. One consideration you may want to keep in mind is that washing with hot water can dry out your hands. There are many moisturizing soaps available that will help lock in moisture during the cold, dry months of the year.

Supplement with Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a handy tool to use when soap isn’t available. Unlike with soap, there is one rule to keep in mind when purchasing: the CDC suggests purchasing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Remember, using hand sanitizer is not a substitute for washing your hands. Soap and water are your best tools to fight off germs, so use sanitizer only when getting to a sink isn’t an option. Keeping a bottle in your car or in your purse can help in the short term, but don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re able.

Teach Your Kids to Wash Properly

Teaching your children to wash their hands the right way can mean the difference between a school day and a sick day. Don’t forget to lather in between their fingers!

Handwashing Tips for Kids

When in doubt on how best to battle the flu, contact your primary care provider or access MyChart to send questions to your physician.