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Hand hygiene could free you from flu

One way to reduce your chances of catching the influenza (flu) virus this year is simply washing your hands.

Communicable Diseases Senior Director, Dr Sonya Bennett says World Hand Hygiene Day (5 May 2015) is an ideal time to spread the word on why keeping hands clean is a vital part of preventing the spread of germs.

"Hand hygiene is the foundation of infection prevention," Dr Bennett said.

"A lot of people don’t realise that you can catch diseases such as flu if you shake hands with an infected person or touch a contaminated surface such as a doorknob or telephone, and then touch your nose or mouth.

"An effective way to help reduce the spread of flu is to wash hands frequently with soap and water, followed by thorough hand drying using a single-use towel.

"You can also use alcohol based hand gel/wipes, but be aware that these are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

"But of course, the best way to protect yourself and your family is to be vaccinated.

"Being vaccinated gives individual protection against flu by building immunity to the virus and preventing transmission of the virus in the community."

Last updated: 4 May 2015