Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (Dec. 11, 2013) – It’s that time of year again - work parties, family gatherings and flu season.

So, how do we make sure we spend our holiday season surrounded by singing, wrapping paper, and cookies and not sneezing, tissues, and cough drops?

“Wash your hands,” said Ericka Kalp, director of epidemiology and infection prevention for Summit Health. “Washing your hands properly is a great way to not only stop the spread of germs, but also to protect yourself.”

Kalp said the best way to protect ourselves from the flu is by getting a flu shot.

“It’s especially important for people who are at a higher risk of developing severe complications from the flu.”

To find flu shot locations near you, call your doctor’s office or visit .

“We should also avoid touching our eyes, nose or mouth,” she added. “Germs can get into our bodies through those areas and then make us sick.”

What if I’m already sick? Should I still go to the office holiday party?

“No,” Kalp said. “If you have flu symptoms, you should limit your contact with people. Stay home from work or school. This will help stop the spread to others.”

According to Kalp, we need to make sure we are covering our nose and mouth with a tissue when we cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash, and wash our hands.

“Wash your hands,” she stated. “I can’t say it enough. Handwashing helps prevent the flu and the spread of the flu. It is so important.”

Kalp provided tips for proper handwashing.

  • Use warm water and soap
  • Wash both sides of your hands (don’t forget your wrists, between your fingers and under your nails.)
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t forget to dry your hands on a paper towel, and use the towel to turn the water off. Then use the towel to open the bathroom door as you leave.

For more flu information, visit