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Simple Solution for Germs

Wash your hands often and thoroughly

Once again, Mom was right. Wash your hands if you want to stay healthy and avoid spreading nasty germs like shigella, reports this article from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Shigellosis is an illness caused by the bacterium shigella. It causes diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. It's most common in children under 4 years old and in those who attend day-care centers. One Ohio county has recently had an outbreak of more than 800 cases of the illness, the article says.

Fortunately, the illness is easily prevented by thorough and frequent hand washing. To rid your hands of bacteria, wash for at least 20 seconds -- the article recommends singing Happy Birthday twice. And make sure to wash the backs of your hands, in between your fingers and under your fingernails. Then dry off with paper towels or a clean towel.

People should wash every time they use the bathroom or change a diaper and before eating or preparing a meal. The illness is more prevalent in youngsters because they often put their hands in their mouths. So you also need to teach children how to wash properly.

Antibacterial hand gels can be used in a pinch, but they're really no substitute for a good hand-washing, the article says.

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