CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -The flu season has begun in Ohio and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) most people are not washing their hands enough to prevent the illness.
According to the current flu map for the first week of January 2019, Ohio is reporting minimal flu activity but is surround by states that are either moderate (Pennsylvania) or high (Kentucky).
With the number one tip from health care professionals being, ‘wash your hands,’ are you doing it enough? Probably not.
“Studies have shown that hand washing can prevent one in three diarrhea-related sicknesses and one in five respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu,” according to the CDC.
“Although cold viruses have been shown to survive on surfaces for several days, their ability to cause an infection reduces rapidly and they don’t often survive longer than 24 hours,” according to Debra Winar, a manager with Infection Control at University Hospitals.
Once the virus is on your hands and living there, it's only a matter of time before you infect yourself.
“It’s important to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth (the T-zone). The flu virus on your hands does not give you the flu, but the virus rubbed into your eye, nose or mouth can make you sick,” said Winar.
According to Winar most people are making the same mistakes.
"Not long enough, it should be 20 seconds, need to cover all surfaces (not just palms) and in between fingers, don't touch faucet handles when done," Winar said.
Surprisingly the water temperature doesn't need to be as hot as your hands can stand.
"Water temperature is not a factor so hotter is not better. Warm water is acceptable, whatever is comfortable. It is the act of friction for 20 seconds that removes bacteria/viruses," Winar said.
CDC has an easy way to make sure you’re washing your hands long enough to kill viruses and bacteria you may have picked up on your hands.
“Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice,” the CDC’s website suggest.