• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
• If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds (recommended after using the restroom).
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Hand washing, when done correctly, is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Good hand washing technique is easy to learn and can significantly reduce the spread of infectious diseases among children and adults.
1. Diseases spread through fecal-oral transmission can be reduced by good hand washing. Infections that may be transmitted through this route include salmonellosis, shigellosis, hepatitis A, giardiasis, enterovirus, amebiasis, and campylobacteriosis. Because these diseases are spread through the ingestion of even the tiniest particles of fecal material, hand washing after using the toilet cannot be over-emphasized.
2. Diseases spread through indirect contact with respiratory secretions can be reduced by good hand washing. Microorganisms that may be transmitted through this route include influenza, Streptococcus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the common cold. Because these diseases may be spread indirectly by hands contaminated by respiratory discharges of infected people, illness may be avoided by washing hands after coughing or sneezing and after shaking hands with someone who has been coughing and sneezing.
3. Diseases may also be spread when hands are contaminated with urine, saliva or other moist body substances. Microorganisms transmitted by one or more body substances include cytomegalovirus, typhoid, staphylococcal organisms, and Epstein-Barr virus. These organisms may be transmitted from person to person or indirectly by contamination of food or inanimate objects such as computers, phones, and toys.
Here are some excellent links by the US Department of Health, with more information that is helpful for the Flu and other dastardly common ailments that seem to stricken us this time of year:
SPECIAL THANKS to our friends at DK Condo for providing the bulk of the information for this article.