People across the Bradford district are being urged to take part in global hand-washing day on the 15 October to help prevent the spread of flu.

Washing your hands, particularly after catching a sneeze, is one of the most effective ways of combating the disease as it can be spread by touching.

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Flu is a highly infectious illness which spreads rapidly in closed communities and even people with mild or no symptoms can infect others. It is caught through droplets of saliva spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can then be breathed in or picked up by touching surfaces where the droplets have landed.

Michael Horsley, Infection Prevention Manager for Bradford council, said: “The single best way to prevent flu is to get a flu vaccination if you are Bentitled to one – but that still leaves many children and adults who aren’t eligible.”

“Hand washing is another good way of preventing the spread of flu. You can prevent the spread of the virus by always carrying tissues, using them to catch sneezes, disposing of the tissue and then washing your hands.

He emphasises that it is not just a case of washing your hands quickly under the tap but “You need to rub your hands together for about 20 seconds with soap and warm water. As well as flu, you could be protecting yourself and others from a whole host of other bacteria and viruses.

He went onto to say that “It’s amazing the number of people you see who don’t wash their hands after sneezing. Flu can be bad enough when you’re healthy, but people in ‘at risk’ groups are 11 times more likely to experience complications if they get the flu than a ‘healthy person’.”

There are six steps to hand-washing effectively:

1.        Wet your hands
2.        Apply the soap
3.        Rubbing your hands together for around twenty seconds
4.        Making sure to clean between your fingers, palms, thumbs, the back of your hands and under the nails
5.        Rinsing your hands
6.        Drying your hands with a clean paper towel or air-drying them