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Fact Sheet: How Germs Spread

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KNOW THE FACTS!

How Germs Spread

The main way that illnesses like colds and flu are spread is from person to person in the respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/germstopper/home_work_school.htm)

 

How germs are spread

The main way that illnesses like colds and flu are spread is from person to person in the respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. This is called “droplet spread.”

This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air and are deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Sometimes germs also can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface such as a desk and then touches his or her own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands. We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces such as cafeteria  tables, doorknobs and desks.

 

How you can stop the spread of germs

In a nutshell – take care to:

  • Cover your mouth and nose
  • Clean your hands often
  • Remind your children to practice healthy habits, too

Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing:

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Or, if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. Always clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.

 

The “Happy Birthday” song helps keep you hands clean

Not exactly. Yet we recommend that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. That’s about the same time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice!

 

Alcohol-based wipes and gel sanitizers work too

When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

Questions

Call our Environmental Health Division at (513) 946-7800.

 

Download a printable version of this fact sheet here.

 

250 William Howard Taft Road
2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone 513.946.7800 Fax 513.946.7890
hamiltoncountyhealth.org