Good Hand Hygiene

washing hands

Your Best Line of Defense Against Cold and Flu

Cold and flu season is underway. With the pandemic scares of recent years still in our minds, we all want to take whatever precautions we can to avoid getting sick. While bacterial infections can quickly clear up with a round of antibiotics, you often have to ride it out with sicknesses caused by viruses like the flu or the common cold. Although medications can help ease your symptoms, your immune system must fight off the viral infection. Why not take it easy on your body and do what you can to avoid catching it in the first place?

Your first line of defense to avoid getting sick this year is simple – Wash Your Hands. That’s right. The simple act of washing your hands frequently with soap and hot water limits the spread of cold and flu viruses and your chance of coming down with them. Practice washing your hands whenever you’ve been out in public. You also want to wash your hands regularly throughout the workday. Wash them before you eat or drink food. When hot water and soap aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Why is this so important? Because you are more likely to pick those viruses up with your hands than any other way. Sure, having someone cough in your face doesn’t help, but your chances of getting the flu or coming down with the common cold, thanks to contact with a handrail or doorknob, are much higher. You pick the virus up by moving about your day. It could be touching the handle of a shopping cart or closing a door behind you. The virus is now on your hands, which isn’t a big problem yet. The virus can’t enter through the skin there.

The problem arises when you touch your face. It happens a lot more than most of us are aware of. We touch our noses, rub our eyes, or get our fingers too close to our mouths when we eat or cough. If the virus reaches a mucous membrane in those areas, it’s right where it wants to be.

That’s why it’s essential to wash your hands. It isn’t some busy work that healthcare professionals give you to make you feel like there’s something you can do. It is your best line of defense. So, what are you waiting for? Go wash your hands.