Don’t let the recent mild weather fool you: cold and flu season are upon us.  The flu  vaccine is one effective and safe way to prevent getting the awful illness that is influenza.

No one makes you get a flu vaccine.  It’s not a requirement for school attendance (though it should be) and it’s not a requirement for employment (though for many occupations, like healthcare and education, it should be).

You are not required to wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, either, even though we all should. Apparently, this happens a lot:


The Bradley Corp., a manufacturer of washroom accessories and plumbing fixtures, reported that just 30% of respondents to its 2014 hand-washing survey indicated using soap and water.

In August, the company polled 1,014 American adults, aged 18 to 65 years or older; 53% of the respondents were women.

Results indicated that 70% of Americans wash with only water and not soap, and 55% are not washing for as long as recommended by the CDC. Those guidelines suggest washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In a survey conducted 2 years ago, Bradley reported that 54% of respondents said they did not use soap when washing their hands.


At least everyone is washing their hands, right?

When asked if they had seen others in washrooms leave without washing their hands, 81% reported seeing others leave restrooms without washing, compared with 74% last year.


Yes, washing your hands properly with soap and water is the right thing to do to protect yourself and others around you — just like getting a flu shot.  And also like a flu shot, washing your hands is safe, though there are known side effects — some serious, like skin rashes from soap, burns from very hot water, and some life-threatening, like slipping on a wet bathroom floor and cracking a skull.  (I’m sure that has happened before.)  In the absence of medical contraindications, there is nothing life-threatening about getting a flu vaccine.  So please protect yourselves, your children and mine, and get one!

And wash your hands!