Do you know the one simple action you can take to cut down on the spread of respiratory illnesses by as much as 20%? You guessed it – washing your hands! December 4 – 10 is National Handwashing Awareness Week, a time when schools, businesses and community organizations are encouraged to remind people about the importance of handwashing. It’s also influenza vaccination awareness week, a time designated to highlight the importance of getting a vaccine for the flu.
Handwashing to prevent the spread of germs
Dr. Will Sawyer is the creator of the Henry the Hand Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to raising awareness about the importance of washing hands to keep people healthy and germ-free. Henry the Hand advocates four principles of handwashing:
- Always wash your hands when they are dirty and before you eat
- Never cough into your hands
- Never sneeze into your hands
- Don’t put your fingers in the “T-zone,” the area of your face that includes your mouth, lips, nose, and eyes.
According to the CDC, the flu gets millions of people sick every year in the United States. Thousands of people die from severe cases of influenza, and while these cases are mostly people over the age of 65, anyone can catch a bad case of the flu.
To prevent influenza, you should get a vaccination. Vaccination can help by preventing you from coming down with the flu or making your infection less serious. Because flu viruses are constantly changing, it’s important to get vaccinated every year to help your body fight off the virus’ current form. You can still get a flu shot at walk-in clinics, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies and from your primary care provider.
The American Inn of Bethesda is proud to work with the NIH, CDC, and other partners in our community to help encourage good hygiene practices that will make our neighborhood safer and healthier.