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October 15 Is Global Handwashing Day

Did you get your flu shot yet? Last year’s severe flu season provided a big reminder of how dangerous seasonal influenza can be! Flu season 2017 – 2018 took the lives of 80,000 people, and caused 900,000 people to be hospitalized. Experts say it was the most deadly since the infamous Spanish flu epidemic of 100 years ago.

Older adults are more likely to get the flu, and they’re at higher risk of dangerous side effects from the disease. Geriatricians say that immunization is their best chance at avoiding getting the flu.

But there are other ways we can avoid getting the flu and spreading it. High at the top of the list for avoiding the spread of flu and many diseases is regular and proper handwashing. For that reason, October 15 is celebrated as Global Handwashing Day. This recognition date was named by the Global Handwashing Partnership, a coalition of international experts including academics, government experts and community-based groups. Read more at https://globalhandwashing.org.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges us to wash our hands at the right time …

  • before, during, and after preparing food
  • before eating food
  • before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • before and after treating a cut or wound
  • after using the toilet
  • after changing diapers or cleaning up a person who has used the toilet
  • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • after handling pet food or pet treats
  • after touching garbage

… and in the right way:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel, or air dry them.

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Just as is true with the flu shot, washing our hands protects not only ourselves, but also others from getting the flu—including small children, seniors and other vulnerable individuals. It takes only water, a little soap and about half a minute to kill a bunch of germs. That’s handwashing power!

Source: IlluminAge AgeWise reporting on materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Global Handwashing Partnership

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