Is Hand Washing Really An Effective Method To Prevent Swine Flu?

Allison Aiello answers the question: 'Does Hand Washing Prevent Swine Flu?'

ByAllison Aiello, Ph.D., M.S., Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan
September 25, 2008, 9:56 AM

May 27, 2009 — -- Question: Is hand washing really an effective method to prevent swine flu?

Answer: There are data supporting the efficacy of hand hygiene for reducing the transmission of respiratory illnesses in the community setting. And that includes both hand washing with soap and water, as well as hand hygiene with hand sanitizers such as alcohol based hand sanitizers.

Well, the issue though is that the transmission of influenza not only includes contact transmission, but also includes aerosol transmission. Therefore, it's important that when individuals are ill that they cover their cough and sneeze in addition to vigilant hand hygiene.

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