Protect Yourself this Flu Season

Did you know that one way to prevent the flu is by washing your hands?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report shows seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains high. In addition, the CDC estimates that there have been about 9.7 million flu illnesses and 4,800 deaths from flu this season. With flu activity expected to continue for weeks, it is important to take measures to protect yourself and your loved ones. 

While the single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, there are additional ways to prevent the virus, such as keeping your hands clean. According to CDC, proper handwashing can prevent one in five respiratory infections such as the flu. The CDC Foundation, in partnership with CDC, GOJO and Staples, launched the Life is Better with Clean Hands campaign last October to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing at home and in public settings to prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses. 

Tips for proper handwashing include:

  • Wetting your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold)
  • Lathering hands by rubbing them together with soap, ensuring to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  • Scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Rinsing hands well under clean, running water
  • Drying hands using a clean towel, or air drying
  • Using hand sanitizer when you can’t use soap and water

Life is Better with Clean Hands includes downloadable materials to help raise awareness about handwashing in public areas such as public restrooms, kitchens and workplaces. Share these materials with your family, friends, colleagues and others, and help reduce the spread of the flu. 

Busola Saka is the communications director for the CDC Foundation.