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Germs are hearty. They can survive on anything you touch for hours. According to the Centers for Diseased Control, viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces like tables and doorknobs for two hours or longer.

20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water can keep you from getting sick. So try counting slowly to 20 or sing the Happy Birthday song twice - to yourself!

The World Health Organization believes that proper hand washing could save more lives around the world than any other vaccine or medical intervention. Hand washing is so important because it interrupts the transmission of disease by getting rid of airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

Almost 50 percent of all foodborne illness outbreaks can be prevented by proper hand washing. You can keep your family safer by washing your hands before and after working with or eating food.

Every sneeze can spread thousands of bacteria-filled droplets. If possible, experts recommend sneezing into a tissue, or turning your head and sneezing into your shoulder or elbow.

Wash with soap. Rinsing with water only removes visible dirt, not invisible bacteria. Alcohol-based gels can also be effective against invisible germs.

You can contract E. coli (food poisoning), salmonella (food poisoning) or staph aureus (MRSA) just by shaking hands with someone who is infected. We don't want you to be anti-social, but be sure to wash your hands as often as possible during the day to prevent transmitting diseases.

Clean hands could help prevent many of the 76 million cases of diarrhea and upset stomachs in the U.S. every year. Other preventive measures include proper handling of food - cooking meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly, refrigerating leftovers promptly and washing fruits and vegetables.

Two hundred different viruses cause the common cold and millions of Americans spread the disease each year through hand-to-hand contact. And children need extra reminders about hand washing because they are especially vulnerable to picking up viruses and passing them along to others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, hand washing is the single most effective way to stop the spread of disease. So please join us in practicing proper hand hygiene. Together we can make a difference!

For more information, visit:
Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization

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