Why Does Cold Prevention With Hand Washing Work?

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Why Does Cold Prevention With Hand Washing Work?

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Germs are often transferred to others through household objects — telephones, doorknobs, toothbrushes, and faucet handles. But the biggest transportation center for germs is your hands. That’s why frequent hand washing gets rid of the illness-causing germs and helps to prevent the spread of some diseases — especially if a family member, friend, or classmate has a cold or flu virus. A program called “Operation Stop Cough” was begun at a military recruit training command center in Illinois. As part of this program, recruits were told to wash their hands at least five times a day. After two years, the hand-washing team reported 45% fewer cases of respiratory ailments, compared with the weekly rates of illness among recruits during the year before Operation Stop Cough started.

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