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Stop Spread Of Colds, Flu By Washing Your Hands

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

According to the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, proper hand washing is the simplest and most effective preventive measure individuals can take to reduce the spread of colds, flu, skin infections and diarrhea. Public health experts indicate that most infections are spread by picking up germs on the hands from contact with other people or by touching contaminated surfaces.

"Because so many of our everyday activities involve being around other people or touching public surfaces, we have to practice good hand hygiene to safeguard against infections such as the flu and cold," said Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, acting director of the Division of Public Health. "Our health is literally in our hands."

Eating, nail biting, thumb-sucking, handling food and touching toys are all ways germs can be spread. Shaking hands or opening a door can also transfer germs to the hands. Each time a person touches their mouth with their hands they run the risk of getting sick.

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Washing hands removes germs and is the best barrier people have against contracting and transmitting viruses and infections. Individuals can also decontaminate their hands by using alcohol-based hand rubs. The best times to perform hand hygiene are:

* Before eating
* Before and during food preparation, especially when handling meat, eggs or poultry
* Before treating a cut or wound
* After using the restroom
* After you sneeze or cough
* After touching animals and pets

To properly wash the hands individuals should:

* Wet hands with water that is a comfortable temperature
* Apply soap and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds
* Be sure to cover all surfaces, especially under nails, around rings, the thumbs and around the wrists
* Rinse hands well
* Dry hands with a papertowel or clean cloth towel
* Use the towel to turn off the faucets

This process is an effective way to prevent contracting and spreading the flu, cold or other illnesses.