January 2020 - WELLNESS THEME
GERMS are everywhere! They can get onto your hands and items you touch throughout the day. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), “washing hands at key times with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to get rid of germs and avoid spreading germs to those around you.” This is the time of year when colds, flu, and other viruses commonly occur, so good hand hygiene is particularly important in preventing the spread of illnesses.
Soap and clean running water are the best method for hand hygiene, but if soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands. The CDC states that alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals. Use soap and water when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
When should you wash your hands?
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating
- Before and after caring for a person who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet, changing diapers, or helping a child with toileting
- After touching garbage
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
How should you wash your hands?
- Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Lather all the surfaces of your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. This includes the backs of your hands, between fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end two times.
- Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Use a towel to turn off the tap.
The Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) latest weekly statistics for influenza activity, ending January 4, 2020, show that Virginia is experiencing widespread flu outbreaks. The CDC recommends that all people, six (6) months of age and older receive an influenza vaccination each year. If you have not received your flu vaccination, it is not too late as seasonal flu activity can last through May.
---Office of Health Services