One of the easiest, least expensive ways to stay healthy is often one of the most overlooked. Avoiding the common cold, or worse the flu, can be as easy as washing your hands.
Many people wash their hands, but do so ineffectively with just a quick rinse of water. To wash your hands properly, you should lather your hands with soap and scrub them for at least 20 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice as a timer. For more information about washing your hands and what to do if there is no soap and water available, visit the CDC’s Web page www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing.
We highlight the importance of proper handwashing and how it helps to prevent illness because National Handwashing Awareness Week, recognized earlier this month, occurred jointly with National Influenza Week, a national observance established to highlight the importance of getting the flu vaccine. The CDC has developed a Flu Vaccination Pledge to encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine emphasizing “Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community.”
There are two forms of flu vaccine in the U.S., and TRICARE covers both, the flu shot and flu mist. Visit TRICARE’s flu page to see which is best for you and to find out how to get the flu vaccine at no cost.