During Cold and Flu Season, Dont Get Caught Dirty Handed

New online educational materials remind young and old alike about the health benefits of frequent and proper hand hygiene: stopping germs and illness dead in their tracks.

The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) have teamed up to produce hand hygiene education brochures available in print and online at http://www.cleaning101.com/handhygieneand www.washup.org.

Have U Washed Your Hands 2Day? and the Spanish-language version, ¿Te Has Lavado Las Manos Hoy Dia, offer children easy-to-remember information on when and why they should regularly wash their hands with soap and water. Also included are a “Clean Hands Word Search” and a handwashing quiz. Posters are also available at no cost.

Don’t Get Caught Dirty Handed reminds adults that many cases of colds, flu, and foodborne illness are spread by unclean hands, and these diseases are responsible for billions of dollars each year in health care expenditures and productivity losses in the United States.

The brochure also relays statistics from a 2007 SDA/ASM-sponsored observational study, which found one-quarter of adults failing to wash their hands in public restrooms.

“Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is much easier than five days in bed with a cold or flu,” said Nancy Bock, SDA’s vice president of education.  “When soap and water aren’t available, reach for a hand sanitizer or some hand wipes.”

Both Have U Washed Your Hands 2Day and Don’t Get Caught Dirty Handed list the occasions when you should clean your hands, including:

• After using the restroom

• Before, during, and after preparing food, especially raw meat, poultry, or seafood

• Before and after meals and snacks

• After touching animals or handling animal waste

• After changing a diaper

• Before and after caring for someone who is sick or injured

• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

Source: SDA