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September is Disease Prevention Month!

How to protect yourself from germs in public places

80% of infections are spread the same way: someone touches a germ-ridden surface, or someone spreads their germs to another person through a sneeze or a cough. Germs are tiny organisms can live in the air, in the water, and on food. It’s important to remember how to protect yourself from germs. Being careful about the surfaces you touch and frequently washing your hands can help keep you safe.

You can start by avoiding high touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, public faucets, handrails, doorknobs, and shopping carts. ATM screens, gas pumps, and checkout keypads are also high touch surfaces that are more difficult to avoid. Surface areas in general are breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. If you can’t avoid touching these surfaces, wash your hands immediately after coming into contact. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. You can also use the inside of your elbow to prevent germs from traveling through the air. Don’t forget to throw used tissues in the trash rather than leaving them for another person to pick up. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after covering your cough or sneeze. Clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Another way to protect yourself is to social distance and wear a mask. A general rule to follow is to remain two arm’s length away from other people. You can also avoid overcrowded areas at group events or gatherings. These prevention tips are important to follow during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they can also help protect you from the flu.

You can’t protect yourself from every single germ out there. But you can still wash your hands often and keep your distance as much as possible. You don’t have to live in fear, you can take proper precautions and continue daily life.

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