With cold and flu season underway, and the pandemic scares of recent years, we all want to do what we can to avoid getting sick. Unlike bacterial infections that can quickly be cleared up with a round of antibiotics, with sicknesses caused by viruses like the flu or the common cold, you often have to ride it out. While there are medications that can help ease your symptoms, your immune system must fight the viral infection off. Why not take it easy on your body and do what you can to avoid catching it in the first place.
Your first line of defense to avoid getting sick this year is simple – Wash Your Hands. That’s right. The simple act of washing your hands frequently with soap and hot water limits the spread of cold and flu viruses and your chance of coming down with them. Get in the habit of washing your hands whenever you’ve been out in public, and whenever you can throughout the workday. Wash them before you eat or drink food and when hot water and soap aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Why is this so important? Because you are more likely to pick those viruses up with your hands than any other way. Sure, having someone cough in your face doesn’t help, but your chances of getting the flu or coming down with the common cold thanks to contact with a handrail or doorknob are much higher. You pick the virus up by moving about your day. It could be touching the handle of a shopping cart or closing a door behind you. It’s now on your hands, which isn’t a big problem by itself. It can’t enter through the skin there.
The problem arises when you touch your face. It happens a lot more than most of us are aware of. We touch our nose, rub our eyes, or get our fingers too close to our mouth when we eat or cough. The virus makes it to a mucous membrane in any of those areas and it’s right where it wants to be.
That’s why it’s important to wash your hands. It isn’t some busy work that healthcare professionals give you to make you feel like there’s something you can do. It is your best line of defense. So, what are you waiting for? Go wash your hands.