How to Wash Your Hands and Avoid Flu

DebMed, the healthcare program of the Deb Group, is urging better, more frequent hand washing as the first line of defense against the current flu epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths in the current flu season have officially crossed the line into “epidemic” territory and 47 U.S. states now have widespread outbreaks of the influenza virus.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, and the CDC has noted that this year’s vaccine is “moderately” effective with a 62 percent rating; effectiveness typically ranges from 50 percent to 70 percent. Aside from the vaccine, proper hand washing is essential, according to the CDC.

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice
  • Rinse your hands well under running water
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean hands.

Other flu precautions include good health habits like covering your mouth when coughing.

The DebMed program offers hand hygiene products, electronic monitoring technology and improvement tools to support hand hygiene compliance.

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