December 30, 2008

Wash hands to avoid seasonal flu

Increasingly, hand washing is believed to be the most important element of germ control, U.S. health experts say.

Health professionals at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore say that something so simple as hand washing could do so much to avoid colds and flu during winter months. They advise getting an annual flu shot -- available to anyone over 6 months. A flu shot -- still available -- is recommended for those below 18 years old and over age 50.

The LifeBridge Health experts advise to use the following hand washing pointers:

-- Wash correctly using soap and warm water by rubbing hands together hard for at least 15 seconds -- singing Happy Birthday twice will be roughly that length -- while making sure to include areas that frequently get missed such as the backs of the hands, between the fingers and thumbs and the fingernails.

-- Use a paper towel to turn off the water. If you use your bare clean hand, the hand will be recontaminated.

-- If using waterless hand cleaner, make sure it contains at least 70 percent alcohol and rub the solution into every area of the hands until they are completely dry.