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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Wash Your Hands & Prevent Flu

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I have heard predictions that half of Americans will contract H1N1 flu this season, so I hope everyone is talking about prevention with their children and teens! Sadly, one of the best prevention habits - washing hands before eating, after sneezing or being around someone who is sick, and after using the restroom - is something that Americans are not traditionally very good at.

A recent Reuters article suggested that, among adults only:
  • 14% wash their hands after coughing or sneezing;
  • 25% wash their hands before eating; and only
  • 80% wash their hands after using the restroom.
For children, the habits are even worse. Only:
  • 25% wash their hands after using the restroom;
  • 10% wash their hands before eating; and
  • 12% wash their hands after being with someone who is sick.
To avoid the flu this season, talk to your kids about the importance of washing their hands and make sure they carry hand sanitizer! Help them understand how germs are transmitted from public areas to their hands and then into their own bodies, and be vigilant reminding them to wash their hands before meals, after using the restroom, or being in public spaces.

Good luck!
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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