Most of us have been living in fear of getting the dreaded flu this year—and this year’s flu vaccine was only about 30% effective at preventing the flu virus. The big culprit for flu-related illness was H3N2, a strain of influenza A that is more difficult to prevent. This strain of flu carries a higher risk of medical complications, leading to an increased rate of hospitalizations for the elderly and children.

Washing Hands to Prevent the Flu

Old-fashioned hand washing is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to stop the spread of the flu virus and other common respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. Taking the time to wash your hands prevents the spread of germs from one person to another and throughout your home and workplace.

Frequent handwashing with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs on your hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is another option if soap and water is not available.

Most of the surfaces you touch on a daily basis (work desks, sinks, refrigerators, light switches, remotes, cell phones) are often contaminated with hidden germs. So, make it a habit to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth throughout the day to reduce the likelihood of infecting yourself with germs you have picked up on your hands.

Handwashing is a simple way to eliminate harmful germs and help keep the flu virus away from you and family members. Stay healthy this season!