How Can Hand Hygiene Help You Avoid the Flu?

It’s that time of year again when runny noses are running rampant and the flu seems to be lurking around every corner. During cold and flu season, most people are on high alert, trying to dodge the icky bug any way they can—avoiding public surfaces like the plague, carrying family-size bottles of hand sanitizer everywhere they go, and staying at least 30 feet away from anyone who even looks like they might be coming down with something. (Sorry, Todd from legal, we know you say you’re just tired because your newborn kept you up all night, but we just can’t risk it. Let’s just push that status meeting until after flu season, yes?) When you think about how many germs your hands might come into contact with during the course of a day, it’s no wonder you’re so stressed. We’ve got some tips to help you stay healthy during the cold and flu months this year.

Wash Your Hands Often

Some of the best ways to avoid getting sick are the most simple. Think about how many surfaces your hands touch each day. It might be more than you’d think. After all, we use our hands for everything! Every time you touch a doorknob, an elevator button, a stair rail, an office phone, or the pump at the gas station, you’re exposing yourself to all the germs that others have left behind. Now, we’re not saying that you need to run to the bathroom to wash your hands anytime you touch anything—that would make for a pretty unproductive day and a very unhappy boss. But you should aim to wash your hands at least 10 times a day. Practice good judgment and wash your hands before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, after petting a cute puppy, etc. etc. And of course, if you know a bug is traveling around the office, feel free to wash your hands a little more frequently than normal—just don’t let the worry consume your life.    

Use Hand Sanitizer…But Not Too Often

Carrying around a small bottle of hand sanitizer is a great option for keeping your hands clean during the cold and flu season. Think about it—sometimes you just don’t have access to a sink with soap and water. And sometimes you just need a little peace of mind when you spy your coworker sniffling across the room, but don’t have time to drop everything and run to the restroom to wash your hands. Don’t like the commercial stuff you find in the bottle? Try making all-natural DIY hand sanitizer. Now, we’re not suggesting that you ditch the old-fashioned soap-and-water method altogether. Hand sanitizer should be used for convenience, but shouldn’t replace your typical hygienic habits. Be wary of using hand sanitizer too often (or even washing your hands too frequently, for that matter) because research has shown that constantly stripping your hands of ALL bacteria can actually weaken the body’s ability to fight infections. Finding a happy medium between cleaning your hands often enough but not too often is key!

Don’t Touch Your Face

Touching your face is probably something you do often without even realizing it. Resting your face in your palms, messing with a blemish, rubbing your eyes, applying lip balm with your finger, scratching your nose, tapping your chin when trying to get some inspiration—you’d probably be surprised at how often your hands find their way to your face. When you participate in this bad habit, you are transferring the germs from all of the icky surfaces you just touched right to your face—making it more likely that you’ll come down with a cold or the flu. Need some help kicking the habit? Check out these great and helpful tips.

Coming down with a winter bug is no walk in the park, but following our tips can help keep you happy and healthy during this cold and flu season. Avoiding the dreaded sickness that’s passing through your office might be as simple as hygienic hand habits. If it’s a hand injury that plagues you this winter rather than the flu, we can help you get your hands back on track. After all, that’s what we’re here for.

If you’re dealing with a hand condition that causes pain or makes it difficult to use your hands, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your hand health is our priority—and it should be yours as well! We’ll work with you to find a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the things you love most (like having one less thing to stress about during flu season). To stay up-to-date on everything happening at HSST, make sure to follow us on Facebook. Our hands heal yours!