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Washing Hands

Can Hand-Washing Really Prevent the Flu?

Beating Winter Bugs via Good Hygiene

Flu season is here. Soon, unlucky people everywhere will be coughing, sneezing, aching and wishing they were back at work instead of stuck in bed with a fever and Netflix. The influenza virus is an unforgiving bug that can strike anyone, and it’s lurking all around us. It’s not enough to get your flu shot and avoid close contact with people who are visibly sick—the virus lives on common everyday objects that you frequently touch without a second thought. When you grab a doorknob, handrail or office coffee pot, the flu virus gets on your fingers. Without even realizing it, you’ll soon touch your nose or mouth, and before you know it, you’ll feel be bedridden and feeling awful.

Does Washing Your Hands Really Help?

Fortunately, something as simple as soap and water can be your secret weapon against the flu and other nasty winter bugs. It isn’t a fancy drug or a promising supplement, but it works. When your mother nagged at you to wash your hands with soap and water, she was on the right track. During cold and flu season, you should do it even more often, but it has to be done properly to work.

How to Wash Your Hands Effectively

You don’t need antibacterial hand washes to cut your flu risk. In fact, the FDA has determined that antibacterial soaps have not been proven any more effective than plain soap, which is a natural antibacterial and antiviral substance that can kill the flu virus and remove it from your skin. According to the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should wash your hands using the following guidelines.

  • First, wet your hands with cool or warm water.
  • Apply a generous amount of soap and rub your hands together to make a lather.
  • Lather every part of your hands including the backs, palms, fingers and areas underneath your fingernails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. A simple way to time yourself is to sing the entire Happy Birthday song to yourself twice. If you’re in a public bathroom, it’s probably a good idea to do this inside your head.
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly under clean, running water, and dry them completely.
  • Use a paper towel to avoid touching the germ-laden door handle as you exit.

Is It Too Late for Prevention? Let Prime Urgent Care Help

We recommend getting a flu shot just prior to flu season. Prime Urgent Care in Pearland can provide treatment to ease symptoms of influenza, colds and their complications. Our Pearland facility offers professional medical services for adults and children aged three months and older, and you don’t even need to make an appointment. Visit us online to learn how we can help you survive winter bugs and feel better quickly.

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