November 30, 2016

Hand Washing

When the weather turns sharper with icy temperatures, colder air and darker skies in the winter, the threat of catching certain widespread illnesses turns greater throughout schools and workplaces.

Seasonal flu

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, fall’s kickoff sparks the onset of flu season, beginning in the autumn months and stretching into as late as May.

The flu typically peaks in January and February during the brunt of winter.

A respiratory illness, the flu spreads from person to person, mostly through coughs, sneezes and even general talking. It is possible to contract the flu by touching a surface infected with the flu virus then transmitting it to your mouth, nose or eyes.

Up to 20 percent of the population will be impacted by the flu each year.

Common cold

Common colds can affect anyone at any time of the year, but peak cold activity hits during the winter and rainy months, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). There are over 1 billion colds reported in the United States throughout each year.

An upper respiratory infection, colds are spread similarly to the flu. Colds ordinarily bring nasal congestion, scratchy throats and sneezing along with other symptoms depending on the strain.


As the most common stomach inflammation illness in the United States, commonly referred to as the stomach flu, norovirus reaches its highest strength during the winter months.

An extremely contagious virus, norovirus is the cause of up to 21 million illnesses each year, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreaks spread from person to person, most commonly in long-term care facilities.


A virus that impacts children, mostly under the age of two, bronchiolitis is a swelling and mucus buildup within the smallest lung air passages, according to UMMC.

The virus peaks in the fall and winter months. It most commonly is caused by a viral infection and is spread from person to person when coming in direct contact with nose and throat fluids of someone carrying the virus.

The CDC and UMMC recommends to wash hands frequently as the easiest way to prevent the spread of any of the illnesses. Disinfect counter tops, door knobs and other frequently touched surfaces often.

What is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself ?


December 4-10 is National Handwashing week

Help us “spread the word not the germs” and how  handwashing  is key in the fight against ALL respiratory and many gastro-intestinal infections!

The 4 Principles of Handwashing

  • Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
  • DO NOT cough into your hands
  • DO NOT sneeze into your hands
  • Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth

While the Adair County Health Department encourages frequent handwashing to prevent and reduce the spread of illness, we also encourage residents to obtain traditional vaccinations as an added layer of protection.

You can still get the Quadrivalent flu vaccine at the Adair County Health Department.

Content credit to Katy Galimberti, Staff Writer and the Henry The Hand Foundation