Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections such as Influenza (flu) and Pink Eye. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of viruses like the flu and other germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat. Watch video below.
Influenza (also known as 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 and people will have some or all of the following 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.
People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. 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 flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
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 first with soap and water. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill. Using appropriate cough etiquette is also useful.
Adults can be contagious beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in the world in both children and adults. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation makes blood vessels more visible and gives the eye a pink or reddish color. Viruses, bacteria and allergens are main causes of pink eye.
Most cases of pink eye are mild and get better on their own, even without treatment. However, you should see a healthcare provider if you have pink eye along with any of the following:
- Moderate to severe pain in your eye(s)
- Sensitivity to light or blurred vision
- Intense redness in the eye(s)
- A weakened immune system, for example from HIV or cancer treatment
- Symptoms that get worse or don’t improve, including bacterial pink eye that does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
- Pre-existing eye conditions that may put you at risk for complications or severe infection.
Pink eye caused by a virus or bacteria is very contagious and spreads easily and quickly from person to person. You can reduce the risk of getting or spreading pink eye by following some simple self-care steps such as hand washing and avoiding touching your eyes.