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Clean hands and other tips for keeping viruses at bay

Viruses like the flu and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can be particularly dangerous for people with cancer. Older patients, those who have received bone marrow transplants and those receiving chemotherapy are especially at risk of becoming seriously ill since their immune systems are already weakened.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the simple act of washing your hands can prevent around 20% of respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.

Here are some handwashing quick tips:

  • Plain soap is fine -- even if it doesn’t have extra ingredients that tout "antibacterial" properties.
  • If you choose an alcohol-based gel, spray or foam, make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol.
  • Make sure your hands are dry before you touch other things.
  • If you have an implanted device, such as an insulin pump, a medication port or a dialysis access, take special care to clean your hands before touching it.

Here are other everyday tips to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If it’s flu season and your doctor says you’re able, get a flu vaccine.

Read more about protecting yourself against viruses

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Thrive Issue: 
Spring, 2020