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Man in bed with thermometer in mouth, holding head.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Following some basic sanitation procedures can help you avoid the flu and help stop the spread of flu and other diseases. It is just that simple.

“Washing your hands helps avoid getting sick from a variety of infections, including the flu, the common cold, hepatitis A, meningitis and infectious diarrhea,” said Helen Jones, an Alabama Extension human sciences regional agent.

When Should You Wash Your Hands?

  • 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 child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

What Is the Right Way to Wash Your Hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), 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.

Seek Treatment

“While much less likely, it is still possible to get the flu even if you have been vaccinated,” Jones added. “If you do become ill with the flu, follow treatment recommendations, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and tobacco.”

It is important that everyone, especially children, the elderly and others with a weakened health status, seek treatment for the flu. Talk to your medical provider for treatment options. They  may recommend over-the-counter drugs that can be used to treat flu symptoms. Always follow the recommended dosage and instructions for use on all medicines. If you are taking other prescription drugs, always ask your physician or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter drugs.

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