Cold and Flu Season
Hand Hygiene as a Preventive Measure During Cold and Flu Season
Public health organizations are encouraging preventive measures this cold and flu season to help prevent the spread of germs that can cause illness. Everyday hand hygiene, both handwashing and hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the single most important way to reduce the spread of germs.
GOJO, maker of PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer, is providing the following resources to raise awareness for hand hygiene to help decrease the spread of germs that cause illness during the seasonal months.
Additional Cold and Flu Resources
For up to date information regarding illness outbreaks and hygiene recommendations visit:
- CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "3 Actions to fight the Flu"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Seasonal Influenza Information
- Health Canada Hand Hygiene Recommendations for Flu Season
- Health Canada Flu Map by Province/Territory
- World Health Organization Influenza Information
- Flu.gov Prevention Information
- Flu Trends Around the World
- National Foundation of Infectious Diseases
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is influenza?
A: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seasonal influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is caused by influenza viruses, which infect the respiratory tract (i.e., the nose, throat, lungs). Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. It is estimated that in the United States, each year on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications.
Q: What are influenza’s symptoms?
A: Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Q: How does the flu spread?
A: Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It also is important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately. Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
Q: Are there any preventive measures that can be taken against the flu?
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “Take 3" Actions to Fight the Flu:
Take the time to get a flu vaccine,
Take every day preventative actions, including washing your hands with soap and water and if soap and water is not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. Learn more
Q: Are PURELL® products effective against the flu?
A: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow brands to make viral claims, but from a scientific perspective influenza is an enveloped virus. Enveloped viruses in general are easily killed or inactivated by alcohol. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer as a preventive measure for flu prevention.
Hand Hygiene Videos and Infographics
What is a good routine for handwashing and hand sanitizing?
Do you think you are washing and sanitizing with proper technique? Jim gives tips for a good handwashing and hand sanitizing routine.
When are the critical times to perform hand hygiene?
It's important to perform hand hygiene throughout the day, both at home and at work. Jim gives tips for those most critical momens where hand hygiene should be performed.
How can we reduce our risk of getting sick?
Hand hygiene is the single most important way to reduce the spread of germs that make you sick. Jim tells you why.
How can businesses promote good hand hygiene?
There are many effective solutions businesses can use to promote hand hygiene. Jim provides tips for employers and employees.