Wash your hands and catch coughs and sneezes for a healthier festive season

Wash your hands and catch coughs and sneezes for a healthier festive season

December 22, 2022

Soap hands under running water

Public health officials in west and north Northamptonshire are advising residents ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations to up their hygiene game to stave off infections and viruses that are currently circulating locally.

Wash your hands regularly and cover your nose or mouth when you sneeze or cough may seem obvious, but they remain important yet simple ways to keep the spread of many viruses in check. This is especially important at this time of year when we are spending more time indoors together.

Clean water is perhaps a matter of course for us. However, handwashing remains an important public health measure to prevent the spread of disease.

Hands are the gateway that viruses use to enter your body, for example by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth. This makes us vulnerable to all kinds of bacteria and viruses.

For many in Northamptonshire, food plays an important part in celebrating the festive season with family, friends and communities, so protect yourself and others by washing your hands thoroughly and regularly, especially when preparing food and before eating.

The easiest and most effective way is to simply wash your hands thoroughly with soap under the tap and then dry them. How to wash your hands – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

dr Annapurna Sen, Public Health Adviser for North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire Municipalities says:

“Coughs and sneezes increase the number of particles released by a person. as well as the distance these particles travel and the time they are suspended in the air. An infected person who coughs or sneezes without covering their mouth or nose greatly increases the risk of infecting others around them.

“Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when you sneeze or cough, dispose of the used tissue in a bin as soon as possible, and then wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer. If you don’t have a handkerchief, sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm, not your hand.

“Hand sanitizing is a good temporary measure after a cough or sneeze, but should only be used as a short-term alternative to thorough hand washing.

“Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds will kill most germs, including those responsible for pathogens like norovirus that sanitizers don’t kill.”

By following these basic hygiene tips, you can safely enjoy the celebrations and also protect those you care about.

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