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Frequent Hand Washing Limits the Spread of Flu

We’re having an awful flu season this year, and many Americans are availing themselves of…

  • February 17, 2018

We’re having an awful flu season this year, and many Americans are availing themselves of one of the simplest – and most effective – measures available to prevent the spread of flu: frequent hand washing.

According to Bradley Corporation, which makes commercial washroom and emergency safety products – Americans are rightly worried about catching the flu.

The company surveyed Americans for its 2018 Healthy Hand Washing Survey, and found that nearly 60% of Americans are extremely or quite concerned about contracting a new or particularly resilient strain of the flu this year.

Fortunately, the survey also found that Americans are ramping up their hand-washing practices in response. 61% of respondents make it a point to suds up more frequently to avoid getting germs or passing them on to others.

“Hand washing with warm water and soap is a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of contracting viral infections like the flu or the common cold,” says medical microbiologist Michael P. McCann, Ph.D., professor of biology, Saint Joseph’s University. “Getting the virus on your hands and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth is a common way people become infected so effective hand washing can reduce that risk.”

In addition to increased hand washing, the survey found Americans try to fend off colds and the flu by supporting their overall wellbeing. 53% increase their fluid intake, 47% take vitamin C or a preventative supplement and 40% try to get more sleep.

On the home front, nearly 80% escalate their cleaning and sanitizing. If a family member is sick or a bug is going around, they proactively wipe down bathroom surfaces, wash sheets and/or towels and clean kitchen surfaces.

That’s a good practice since Dr. McCann says cold and flu viruses can persist on solid surfaces like sinks, countertops, doorknobs and phones for about a day.

The survey also found that, while 56% stay home when they’re sick, those who are ill change the way they greet people. 51% wave hello. Others simply avoid shaking hands and some utilize a fist bump or air kiss instead.

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