Health leaders in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are urging people to protect themselves against the flu this winter.
Once flu is circulating, apart from vaccination, good hand hygiene is the main way to prevent it spreading.
Dr James Ogle, GP in Leicestershire said: “Preventing the spread of germs is the most effective way to slow the spread of flu. And it’s easy to follow a few simple steps to help protect yourself and your loved ones this winter.
“Good hand hygiene is important not only in preventing colds and flu but it also helps to limit your exposure for other infections such as norovirus, which is also prevalent in winter. To clamp down on germs, we urge everyone to ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’: use a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes, and then throw away the tissue. Finally, kill the germs by washing hands properly. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, about the time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, and make sure to use soap.
“These simple measures can make a big difference and will help protect you, your family and those around you.”
Hand washing with warm water and soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Studies show it lowers the transmission of flu, colds and diarrhoea, both at work and home as well as in NHS facilities. Parents are being reminded to make sure that children are taught how to wash their hands properly, particularly if they’re around grandparents or friends and relatives that are ill.
Washing hands properly should take about as long as singing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds).
People who are suffering from an illness such as colds and flu are also asked to try to avoid visiting relatives in hospital where possible, to help prevent infection on the wards.
Dr Ogle continues
“We understand that people will want to visit their loved ones when they’re in hospital, even when they’re not in the best of health themselves. Patients in hospital are more susceptible to bugs and infections, and they can spread fast. We urge anyone with a heavy cold to try to avoid visiting where possible, and when you do visit, please wash your hands properly and use a tissue when you sneeze.”
The eleven steps that the NHS recommends for hand washing are:
1. Wet your hands with water (warm or cold)
2. Apply enough soap to cover all over your hands. You can use alcohol-based handrub if you don't have immediate access to soap and water.
3. Rub hands palm to palm.
4. Rub the back of your left hand with your right palm with interlaced fingers. Repeat with the other hand.
5. Rub your palms together with fingers interlaced.
6. Rub the backs of your fingers against your palms with fingers interlocked.
7. Clasp your left thumb with your right hand and rub in rotation. Repeat with your left hand and right thumb.
8. Rub the tips of your fingers in the other palm in a circular motion, going backwards and forwards. Repeat with the other hand.
9. Rinse hands with water (warm or cold).
10. Dry thoroughly, ideally with a disposable towel.
11. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.
You can find out more at https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/how-to-wash-your-hands-pro...