CDC encourages ‘handwashing heroes’ to fight flu, diseases

What percentage of people wash their hands in public restrooms? It may be less than you think.

CDC encourages ‘handwashing heroes’ to fight flu, diseases
The CDC says handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others which would help families and workforces thrive. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ((AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast))

(RNN) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraged people to stay healthy by washing their hands Tuesday, and it is using #HandwashingHeroes on social media to spread awareness.

The CDC commemorated Global Handwashing Day in October and have followed up with an online conversation and tips to having clean hands, as flu season begins.

The day is reserved as an opportunity to get people involved and come up with creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands.

“Germs are all around us - they lurk on our clothes, our food, the items we touch and especially on our hands and bodies,” the CDC said in a statement. "Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs, helping keep us safe from illness.

"You can play a role in encouraging your community to make handwashing a habit by just sharing one social media post on your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page.

Global Handwashing Day, held Oct. 15, was established in 2008 by the Global Handwashing Partnership. The day was created to bring awareness to the benefits of handwashing with soap.

It is a critical habit that helps people avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

According to the CDC, many germs that make people sick are caused and spread by people not washing their hands with soap and clean, running water.

When it comes to handwashing in work environments, the CDC says simply washing your hands after using the restroom may benefit employees and employers.

The CDC said a previous study states only 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women wash their hands after using the bathroom. Promoting handwashing in the workplace results in fewer employee illnesses and less use of sick days, the agency said.

But beware - WebMD said there are devices in restrooms, like hand dryers and soap dispenser handles, that can be havens for bacteria and germs.

While hand sanitizers can effectively reduce the number of germs on hands, they do not replace the effectiveness of washing hands with soap and water, the CDC said.

According to the CDC, great times to wash your hands include throughout food preparation, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, after using the restroom and after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste.

Wash Your Hands

Germs are everywhere—especially on our hands. Washing hands with soap and water at key times is the best way to stay healthy! https://go.usa.gov/xUz3E

Posted by CDC on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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