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Health Secretary Reminds Kids to Stop Germs - Wash Hands

National Hand Washing Awareness Week Dec. 2-8

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson today said he wants all children in Pennsylvania to help stop spreading germs by spreading the word about good hand washing.

Health officials are celebrating National Hand Washing Awareness Week, Dec. 2-8, by reminding Pennsylvanians, especially kids, about proper hand washing techniques.

"Hand washing is one of the most important and simplest things you can do to prevent getting the flu or spreading infections," said Dr. Johnson. "Families, classmates and coworkers can help each other stay healthy by frequently washing hands."

Everyone should wash his or her hands before eating, after going to the bathroom, during food preparation, after handling animals, upon arriving home, after changing diapers, when leaving the hospital or doctor's office and any other time hands may have become dirty or been in contact with germs.

Children should remember to scrub their hands with soap and warm running water for 20 seconds, or while singing the ABC song, and then dry with a paper towel. Use the paper towel to turn off the water and open the restroom door.

Children can keep their hands clean after washing by never coughing or sneezing into their hands or putting their fingers in their eyes, nose or mouth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36,000 people die from the flu or flu-like illness each year, 5,000 people die from food borne illness each year, and between 78,000 and 90,000 patients die each year from hospital acquired infections, many of which could have been prevented with proper hand washing.

For more information about hand washing, visit or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman

(717) 787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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