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Dec. 13, 2010

Wash Your Hands to Stop the Spread of Germs

OSWEGO COUNTY - With winter weather upon us, the Oswego County Health Department is emphasizing the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of germs.

"Going into the winter months, you're more likely to have the sniffles or a cold and there are ways to prevent the occurrence of these illnesses," said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, public health director of the Oswego County Health Department. "Passing the respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes from person to person is the main way that illnesses like colds and flu are spread. Remember to cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue. If you don't have a tissue, use your upper arm or elbow as place to catch the droplets."

Another way to prevent the spread of these illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and properly.

Dr. Norfleet added, "Your hands may look clean, but they have germs on them that could make you or someone else sick. Washing your hands often and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water will help protect yourself and others from germs."

The Oswego County Health Department's public health educators go to elementary schools to teach children the importance of washing hands properly. They teach children to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice while they are washing, so they know they have washed for 20 seconds. Parents and adults can also be great role models for children when it comes to proper hand washing.

Hand sanitizers are great when soap and water is not available; however, they do not work well if your hands are visibly dirty. In that case, it is best to find soap and water and wash them. If you are using hand sanitizer gel, remember to rub your hands together until the gel is dry and not to use it on children under the age of one.

For more information on disease or illness prevention, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547. You can also visit the Web site at oswegocounty.com/health or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/oswegocountyhealth.


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