the flu is everyone’s responsibility!
or the flu is a common, infectious respiratory disease that begins in your nose
and throat. It is highly contagious and spreads rapidly from person to person.
spread an estimated 80 percent of common infectious diseases like the common
cold and flu. For example, when you touch a doorknob that has the flu virus on
it and then touch your mouth, you can get sick. But these disease-causing germs
slide off easily with good handwashing technique.
is easy to learn, cheap and incredibly effective at stopping the spread of
When should I wash my hands?
your hands several times a day with soap and warm water, especially:
feeding children, including breastfeeding
and after preparing food
using the toilet
changing diapers or helping a child use the toilet
blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
playing with shared toys
and after visiting with people who are sick
handling animals or their waste.
What are germs and are they
is a general term for different types of tiny organisms. Bacteria and viruses
are examples of two different types of germs. Bacteria are virtually everywhere
in our environment and make up 60 per cent of the living matter on earth. Of the
billions of types of bacteria only about 50 are known to cause infection.
cause far more illnesses than bad bacteria because they spread more easily. If
more than one person in your family has the same sickness, odds are it is a
viral infection. Cold and flu viruses invade our cells and rapidly grow in
number causing symptoms like runny nose, cough, aches and sore throats.
Where do germs live?
you had to pick the place in your house with the most disease-causing germs,
what would you choose? Many of us automatically think of the bathroom toilet
seat or bathroom floor. But you may be surprised to learn that the kitchen is
the biggest hot-zone for disease-causing germs. Top prize goes to the kitchen
sink, followed by the dishrag or sponge.
can live for a surprisingly long time on hard surfaces like desks, doorknobs and
tables. Most people get sick when they touch something that is contaminated with
germs and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. The easiest way to reduce your
chance of getting sick is to wash your hands often with regular soap and water
and avoid touching your face.
What kind of soap should I
use? Plain or antibacterial soap?
soaps and cleaners are readily available - there are hundreds of brands on the
market. Yet, antibacterial soaps offer no benefit over regular, plain soaps in
preventing common illnesses.
soaps contain antibiotics in amounts that kill some of the germs on your skin.
When you use antibacterial soaps the bacteria at the edge of the soap
are exposed to only a little bit of antibiotic. These bad germs survive and
become resistant (they can't be killed) to that particular antibiotic. They can
also transfer their antibiotic resistance to good germs.
ordinary soap has ingredients that help to remove dirt and grease from your
skin. The mechanical
of handwashing - rubbing your hands together with soap and water - breaks down
the tiny bits of grease, fat and dirt on your hands that bad germs cling to.
Soap doesn't actually kill the bad germs, instead, it's the combination of soap,
rubbing, rinsing and drying that helps these bugs slide off your hands.
bottom line: plain soap and good handwashing technique are the best way to
remove the dirt and grease that attract bad bacteria.
What about alcohol-based
Both alcohol-based hand
sanitizers and soap and water have a place in prevention of infections. You
should use an alcohol sanitizer when you are out and not able to wash your
hands—for example, at the mall or after riding public transit. Alcohol-based
hand sanitizers don't contain antibiotics. But the alcohol kills both good and
bad bacteria on your skin so use it sparingly. And keep in mind that they don't
work well if you have a lot of dirt and grease on your hands.
How to wash your hands - 7
all rings and wet your hands
with warm running water.
a small amount of liquid soap in the palm of one hand.
Bar soaps are not as hygienic as liquid soaps because they stay moist and
attract germs. If a bar soap is the only option it should be stored on a
rack so that the bar doesn't sit in water.
your hands together for 20 seconds so you produce lather.
Make sure you scrub between your fingers, under your fingernails and the
backs of your hands.
your hands well with clean running water for at least 10 seconds.
Try not to handle the faucets once your hands are clean. Use a paper towel
to turn off the water.
your hands with a single use paper towel.
If you use a hand towel be sure to change it daily. During cold and flu
season you may want to give each family member his or her own hand towel.
to put moisture back into your skin if your hands are dry.
good handwashing technique to your children.
Have them sing a song like Twinkle
Twinkle Little Star while
rubbing their hands together to teach them the amount of time it takes to
clean their hands properly.