It’s Cold and Flu Season, So Lather Up for National Handwashing Awareness Week

As 2022 ends, Capital Health Plan encourages you and your loved ones to practice effective hygiene habits to keep yourself safe and healthy all year. One simple method that’s easy to keep in mind is washing your hands! To get things started, December kicks off with National Handwashing Awareness Week, when citizens across the nation are encouraged to clean their hands more and understand the benefits of doing so.

A few easy-to-remember tips for ridding germs from your hands and potential diseases can make all the difference when protecting yourself and others. The first and most crucial step is cleaning your hands properly with soap and water. Create a lather, then reach in between your fingers, underneath your nails, and across the back of your hands. Washing your hands should last a minimum of 20 seconds – often described as the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice – significantly reducing the number of microbes that carry infectious diseases on our hands.

You may ask, “When is it a good time to wash my hands besides when I'm eating or using the restroom?” Washing your hands every 30 minutes may seem excessive, but our day-to-day activities call for cleaning ourselves more often than not. Situations like taking out the garbage, changing a diaper, or touching an animal are times when it’s best to clean those extremities.

Many infections and viruses are easily transmitted through bodily contact or exchanging fluids. A respiratory virus among children called Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) can be dangerous for infants or older adults with compromised immune systems. Nearly all children contract the virus in the mild form before their second birthday, but repeat infections are possible.

The virus can spread when you sneeze, cough, or share food. Symptoms of RSV include a runny nose, coughing, sore throat, an earache, and a fever. It’s also one of the most common causes of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year old.

Other infections like influenza and COVID-19 should also be at the top of your mind, as they are spreading rapidly across the nation in tandem with RSV. All three present similar symptoms, making it difficult for non-medical professionals to detect the difference. 

With the winter season approaching, the likelihood of contracting these illnesses increases rapidly, and National Handwashing Awareness Week is a good reminder of that. Frequently washing your hands or using hand sanitizer is necessary to maintain good health. Capital Health Plan encourages you to contact your healthcare provider if you have any RSV, COVID-19, or flu symptoms – it’s always best to be sure. For more information, visit

2022-12-05 21:45:00