Hospital Says Hand Washing a Powerful Flu Prevention Method

December 12, 2003 - Posted at 1:50 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - As one of the worst flu epidemics in years sweeps across Arkansas and the rest of the nation, doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital have issued a reminder that, besides getting a flu shot, something as simple as washing your hands on a regular basis can be an effective flu-prevention method.

"After decades of enhanced knowledge in infectious diseases, it is amazing that people seem to pay the least attention to one of the most reliable methods of prevention of spread of an infection, to wash your hands," said Dr. Richard Jacobs, the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at ACH.  Jacobs says hand washing combined with flu vaccine and the common sense practice of avoiding close contact with persons who have flu-like symptoms will significantly reduce your chances of getting the flu.

Doctors say we should wash our hands as often as possible, whether at home or at work.  According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in Atlanta, it is especially important to wash your hands before, during, and after food preparation; before you eat and after using the bathroom; after handling animals or animal waste; when someone in your home or workplace is sick (frequently); and whenever your hands are dirty.