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Handwashing and flu shot are easy ways to keep your family safe (Columbus, OH) — September 18, 2017 — Can washing your hands really keep you healthy? Absolutely. With the new school year in full swing, it's important to wash your hands often, wash with soap and encourage others to wash their hands, too. A recent study from the American Cleaning Institute shows that simple handwashing with soap can reduce the number of pneumonia-related infections in children under the age of five by more than 50 percent'. "Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent millions of children from getting sick with everything from the common cold to serious bacterial infections," said Dr. Ronald Charles, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Buckeye Health Plan. "Unfortunately even in the United States where soap is plentiful, handwashing doesn't happen as often as it should," Charles said. Colds and other infections create an uptick in fall visits to the doctor. "Back to school season is one of those times when we see more illness due to close quarters and germ sharing. Washing

hands is a simple way to reduce illness," Charles said. Buckeye Health Plan has numerous programs to help its members and the entire community stay healthy this school year. Members can receive a free flu vaccine through their doctor, at a CVS Pharmacy or other pharmacies close to them. Members under five or over 50-years-old receive additional benefits-related rewards for getting a flu shot. The importance of flu prevention can't be overstated. More than 8,600 Ohioans were hospitalized with flu-related complications and seven Ohio children died from the flu last year'. Only 46.1% of Ohioans, received the flu vaccine - suggesting that over half of Ohioans still needed to protect themselves'. "Getting a flu shot goes right along with good hand hygiene," said Charles. "It's really the one-two punch for keeping illness away."

The Reporter Newspaper
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