Wash your hands often, especially before eating and after coughing, sneezing,
or blowing your nose.
Keep your sneezes and coughs to yourself (use a tissue or your elbow instead of
Keep your hands out of your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Mom's Always Right
You may have heard all this before — probably from your mom — but flu
season is a great time to actually start doing them. By following these tips, you
might be able to keep yourself from getting sick and prevent germs
from spreading around and making other people sick.
Do you notice something about the tips above? Most of them involve your hands.
That's how a lot of germs get in our bodies in the first place — whether it's
a cold, chickenpox, or
the flu. Germs get on our hands and we put our hands in our eyes, noses, and, especially,
Sometimes you just can't help it. You have to pick up your sandwich, floss your
teeth, and do stuff like that. Our hands get plenty of opportunities to touch our
eyes and noses, too. Don't even get me started on nose-picking. I think you can guess
that you shouldn't be doing that during flu season either (or anytime — ew!)
Check Your Hand-Washing Skills
The best habit of all these good habits is hand
washing. When you wash your hands, you rinse away germs that you might have picked
up here or there. When you do this before you eat, for instance, you reduce the chance
that those germs will end up in your body, where they can make you sick.
Sure, you know how to wash your hands. But check your technique against these recommendations:
Use warm water (not cold or hot) when you wash your hands.
Use whatever soap you like. Some soaps come in cool shapes and colors or smell
nice, but whatever kind that gets you scrubbing is the kind you should use. Antibacterial
soaps are OK to use, but regular soap works fine.
Work up some lather on both sides of your hands, your wrists, and between your
fingers. Don't forget to wash around your nails. This is one place germs like to hide.
Wash for about 15 to 20 seconds — about how long it takes to sing "Happy Birthday"
Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.
Let's add a final step 5 since it's flu season: Tell a friend to wash up, too!