When Hand Sanitizer is Useless Against the Flu

Handwashing
Print icon

It’s an icky fact: That elevator button or door knob you just touched? It likely has germs on it. If you want to avoid an illness — especially during flu season, which can last from November through April – then be sure to wash those hands. Do it the right way and do it often, several times a day.

Germs can live on any surface for two hours or more. If someone in your office or school is sick, those germs that made them sick can reside on anything they’ve touched – desks, phones, coffee pots, microwaves, cafeteria tables, toys and books.

One of the best ways to prevent sickness and the spread of germs is good hand hygiene. When flu prevention experts advise you to wash your hands, they don’t mean a light drizzle of water. Always use both soap and warm water and rub hands together for 15 to 20 seconds. Sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice while rubbing, to keep track of the time. Don’t forget your fingernails and cuticle areas. These are areas that we often don’t pay attention to when washing.

And covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze is more than good manners. It is another helpful measure to avoid spreading germs to other people. When possible, use a tissue to sneeze or cough into. Otherwise, cough or sneeze into your arm instead of your hand. If you sneeze or cough right onto your hand, then everything you touch will become infected!

It’s also helpful to keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers close by. If you don’t have access to a sink and warm water, a gel sanitizer or an alcohol-based hand wipe is easy to grab to clean dirty hands. The gel doesn’t need water to work; just rub hands until your hands are dry. To stop flu germs, though, always use soap and water.

At the office, the paper towel is a very good friend and a great way to avoid flu germs. Use a paper towel to open a door, turn a faucet or grab from the towel dispenser or even to touch elevator buttons.

These tips may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t practice good hand hygiene.

Learn more about cold and flu prevention here

Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care centers are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment, check wait times or to find other GoHealth locations, click here


What's New

Walk on the Beach

Is it Safe to Take a Summer Vacation, Even Fly?

Distancing, both physical and social, is the buzzword of the year and one Hartford HealthCare (HHC) experts want you to remember as the state reopens and you begin venturing out of your home this summer. The warmer months, when kids are traditionally of school, are a time when many people...

COVID and Pets

CDC’s COVID-19 Update Spares Pets, Downgrades Threat of Infected Surfaces

COVID-19 spreads more person-to-person than surface-to-person or animal-to-person, according to the latest update guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The person-to-person spread surprises no one, but the CDC has downgraded the risk of  touching a contaminated surface, then infecting yourself by touching your nose, eyes or mouth....


Windham paramedic program honors 25 years

Since its inception 25 years ago, the paramedic program at Windham Hospital has saved countless lives, built partnerships with 16 fire departments and served the 400-square-mile community around the hospital. In 1995, the town of Windham recognized the need for paramedic or advanced life support services in the Windham and...

Public Restroom

Is it Safe to Use a Public Bathroom During COVID-19?

As the country reopens, state by state, is there public trust in public restrooms? Put it this way: At last check, New York’s subway system had one bathroom per 53,000 riders. In Connecticut, public restrooms remain closed at most state parks. Elsewhere, will people change their hygiene habits when in...

COVID-19 Blood

Where to Get a COVID-19 Antibody Test, And Why

During the COVID-19 surge in Connecticut, diagnostic tests  performed with a nasal swab were critical in determining who had been infected with the coronavirus. Now, as the state’s economy reopens, a blood test is helping health professionals detect an immune response in people who were infected and also identify people were...

Depression

New: COVID-Related Behavioral Health Hotline

In any catastrophe, the medical needs must be tended first, followed by a wave of behavioral health issues that can last for months and years. The COVID-19 infection rate peaked in Connecticut at the end of April and now the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network (BHN) is preparing for increased demand...

Skin Cancer

If a Spot Looks Like This, it Could be Skin Cancer

The sun feels amazing on your face after a wet, dismal spring, but just a few moments of unprotected exposure can bring even more dismal consequences. During Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Girish Mohan, director of cosmetic and laser dermatology with Hartford HealthCare Dermatology, wants to remind people that protecting...