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Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Touts Handwashing as Most Effective Way to Prevent Spread of Colds and Flu

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center works diligently day after day defending your tomorrow. It is a partnership between us and our community. We work to educate our community on ways to stay healthy. As winter and the end of the year roll in so do the flu. By practicing everyday prevention actions that can help fight germs, you and your family can enjoy an illness-free holiday season this year.

According to a recent announcement from the New York State Department of Health, there is an 86% increase in confirmed influenza cases over the last week in New York State. With the winter weather comes increased holiday travel which means that there is a higher chance of transmission of a cold or the flu.

According to the CDC, flu viruses are thought to spread from person to person through droplets made when people with a flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then rub their mouth, eyes, or nose. People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.

So what can you do to help prevent the spread of these germs and viruses? The CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting the flu. The first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year. Some everyday preventive actions people can take to avoid getting the flu include, avoiding close contact with sick people. While ill, limit contact with others as much as possible, and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you a cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue away after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread this way. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with bacteria and if an outbreak occurs, follow public health advice.

You can take additional steps at work to help stop the spread of germs that can cause the flu. If you begin to feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible. If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone with using fever-reducing medicine. Routinely clean frequently touched objects such as surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs. Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels and alcohol-based hand rubs.

Additional preventive actions you can take to protect your children from illness such as the flu include making sure your child’s school, child care program, or college routinely cleans frequently touched objects and surfaces. Make sure that they have a supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rugs, and disposable wipes on-site.

These everyday preventive actions along with proper and frequent hand hygiene can help slow the spread of germs that can cause many different illnesses and may offer some protection against the flu. As your partner in healthcare, know that in the event of your or a loved one contracting the flu, the staff at Claxton-Hepburn are prepared to provide you and your loved ones the best care because we believe your tomorrow is worth defending.

For more information on the flu and handwashing visit To learn more about the services and providers at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center visit us at or find us on Facebook.