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Handwashing Education Can Wash Away the Flu and Other Illnesses

Krystal Pesch, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? Maybe not, during flu season. And last year’s flu season was a particularly rough one in the United States. Here are a few facts from the CDC:

  • The CDC estimates that there were 79,000 flu deaths in the U.S. in the 2017-2018 influenza season.
  • The estimated number of flu hospitalizations from last season is 960,000, more than the number of staffed hospital beds in the U.S.
  • The estimated number of flu illnesses during the 2017-2018 season is 49 million, more than the combined populations of Texas and Florida.
  • Influenza-like illness was at or above the U.S. national baseline for 19 weeks in 2017-2018, making last year’s season one of the longest in recent years.

While those stats can be a little scary, there are things you can do to stay healthy this season. One important step people can take to avoid getting sick and spreading the flu is to keep your hands clean because handwashing has significant health benefits. The CDC estimates that simple handwashing education will:

  • Reduce the number of people who get sick by 23-40%.*
  • Reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%.*
  • Reduce absenteeism in schoolchildren by 29-57%.*

* Source: CDC – “Handwashing: Clean hands save lives”

So, is there a proper way to wash your hands? Yes, there is—and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Don’t forget to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands thoroughly (preferably with a World Dryer fast-dry hand dryer).

Taking a little extra time over the next few months to follow these handwashing recommendations is an excellent way to not only reduce the possibility of illness for you, but also protect the health of those around you. If you work in an office or school, encourage everyone in your vicinity to do the same.

As the leading manufacturer of automatic hand dryers, we are pleased to be part of the effort to stave off any illnesses by helping you get your hands thoroughly dry after you wash them—fast!