Health Experts Urge Soap Use in Midst of Flu Season, Possible FD - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Health Experts Urge Soap Use in Midst of Flu Season, Possible FDA Changes

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Though not one confirmed case of the flu has been reported in Nebraska this season, health experts say you shouldn't let your guard down.

Central District Health Department Community Health Supervisor Jeremy Eschliman said the illness will hit eventually so it's best to get your flu shot and wash your hands now.

As the FDA proposes new guidelines for antibacterial soap, Eschliman says any soap will work.

"What we know is just your standard run of the mill soap is fine," he said. "It doesn't have to be antibacterial soap to do the job. What's more important -  what science has proven - is wash your hands for 20 seconds. Sing ‘Happy Birthday' to yourself three times. That's 20 seconds typically. [Wash your hands] under warm running water and then dry with a paper towel. That's really the best way."

Eschliman said using a paper towel to open public restroom doors is also a good idea.

A proposed rule announced this week would require soap companies to prove their antibacterial products are more effective than regular soap and water.

They'd also have to prove the chemicals are safe long-term.

Eschliman says there's another factor to consider when talking about antibacterial products.

"What happens in our natural environment is if you have antibacterial soap, it kills off some of the germs that are out there, some of the weaker germs," he said. "What comes back are stronger germs and you get the super bugs; and so that's something we need to be kind of cautious of too."

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