With flu season upon us, it is important to make sure you are taking all the necessary steps to keep yourself and loved ones protected. In addition to the flu shot, maintaining good hand hygiene is a must! A lot of us have a bottle of hand sanitizer in our bags for quick degerming, and in most instances, it does a great job of removing common germs and bacteria found on our hands.
However, new studies have found that ethanol-based hand sanitizers can fall short when killing flu germs found in mucus. While the study did not look at the quantity of sanitizer used or how the sanitizer was applied, it says to be effective in killing flu germs stuck inside mucus, you would need to rub hand sanitizer in for up to four minutes. Who has time for that?! So, unless you feel like submerging your hands in hand sanitizer for several minutes, use old-fashioned soap and water when you notice mucus or saliva on your hands. I know I can’t get my little kids to sit still for a few minutes let alone hold them still to rub their hands for that long.
Here are a few hand hygiene tips:
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow to prevent the spread of germs. (Even my 3-year-old can do this)
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands for 15 seconds with warm water and soap – sing one round of “Happy Birthday” for reference!
- Make sure to lather the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them and use the towel to turn off the water.
Still need to get your flu shot?