Everybody knows what happens when someone comes to the office sick. Or when someone comes down with a cold at home.

There’s a chain reaction. Coughing, sneezing, and the Kleenex supply become daily discussion topics.

But doing a better job at washing your digits (all 10 fingers) and your hands can be a great defense against germs, and help you stay well.

It’s why you should lather up during cold and flu season.1

Germs travel fast

Researchers at the University of Arizona wanted to show how fast germs can spread.2

They placed water droplets on the hands of about 80 employees in an office.

But one person actually received drops of a fake virus.

    • How fast did the fake virus spread?

In just four hours, it was on half of the surfaces in the office. And it had spread to half of all employees.

Hand hygiene rules to avoid germs

“Imagine how great it would be if you or your family were never sick again from a respiratory infection,” says National Handwashing Awareness Week founder Dr. Will Sawyer.

It’s possible if you follow a few simple rules:

1. Lather up with soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

    • Do this when they’re dirty, and always before eating.

2. Cover your mouth or nose with your elbow, or use a tissue.

    • Do not cough or sneeze into your hands.

3. Do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth.

    • Follow these hand hygiene rules, and you’ll avoid getting sick from shaking hands or touching germy surfaces.

Watch the CDC Video: How to Wash Your Hands

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