By Renee Dotson, County Extension Coordinator:
The holidays are here and with Christmas just a few days away, it’s a good time to remind you that winter is cold and flu season. While these are very different illnesses, its prime time to get them and both are easily spread between family members. In addition to getting a flu shot (as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), diligent hand washing can prevent the spread of germs at home. If you haven’t read one of my articles on hand washing, then it’s your lucky day. It’s important to wash your hands the right way so here are some general guidelines to wash away germs.
Wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap, either in bar or liquid form. Rub 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. Do this away from running water, so the lather isn’t washed away. 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.
Hand sanitizers, gels or antibacterial wipes are useful alternatives if soap and water are not available. For example, when traveling in the car (or taxi on the way to a business meeting), before eating an in-flight meal or snack, at outdoor work settings, at school, or just wherever you are, whether it’s for work or pleasure, have an alternative with you.
And when you arrive home from anywhere, make hand washing the first thing you do! Make this your New Year’s Resolution! For more information, contact me in the Gilmer UGA Extension office. I wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season.