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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall is the public information director of the Henry/Stark Health Departments.
Blog: This is National Handwashing Week
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By RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall
Dec. 3, 2012 2 p.m.

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments announce that December

2-8, 2012 has been proclaimed National Handwashing Week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

"Handwashing is the single most important means to prevent the spread of

infection." The CDC estimates that 36,000 die from the flu or flu-like

illness each year, 5,000 people die from food borne illness each year, and

approximately 78,000 patients die each year from Hospital Acquired

Infections, for which a direct link to many of these deaths is poor

handwashing.

RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall, Health Department Public Information Director

states, "What people need to remember, especially during the cold and flu

season, is that simple and consistent handwashing promotion and awareness is

important for infection prevention, food safety, school health, personal

health and disease prevention."

"To put this in greater perspective, " adds Tucker, "one should consider

that fact that in the average year as many as 164,000,000 days are lost from

school due to illness, of which 22,000,000 are due to the common cold

alone."

The Health Department staff notes that there are many critical times to

wash your hands. A few examples are before eating, after the toilet, during

food preparation, after handling animals, upon arriving home, after changing

diapers, leaving the hospital or physician's office and any time you think

your hands are dirty. Use soap, running water, and scrub all surfaces of

your hands for 20 seconds and dry with a paper towel. If a sink and soap

are not available, use a alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

For more information on good hygiene and infection control or to

schedule a program, call the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 (Henry) or

(309) 852-3115 (Stark) or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or

find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments.

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