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Flu outbreak reflects need to fight germs

I've always considered myself to be somewhat of a germaphobe. A few times a day, I make sure to wash my hands just to put my mind at ease.

When you think about all the places you visit in a day - stores, other peoples' offices and desks as well as multiple public areas - it's easy to cringe at the thought of all the germs you've picked up. But in our busy lives, some of us don't always think to wash our hands multiple times a day.

Because of the flu outbreak that has hit our world, I feel that washing your hands is more important than ever. Exchanging handshakes or touching the counter at your local convenience store is often all it takes to pick up germs that can make you sick.

When I went grocery shopping the other night, I was relieved when I walked through the entrance and saw that there were cleaning wipes that customers could use to wipe down their hands and shopping cart handles. As this flu outbreak moves around our area, perhaps it's necessary to have these types of hand wipes nearby. I use them to clean off my cell phone at the end of the day. It's been said that cell phones are among the objects that attract the most germs these days.

Again, it's not always easy to remember to wash our hands or cover our mouths when we cough. But, for the sake of those around us, such practices are extremely important right now.

Even while attending church recently, I've noticed clergy members recommending that people refrain from shaking hands during church services because of the flu outbreak. As a Catholic, I'll admit that it's tough for me to not shake the hand of the person next to me in church and say "peace be with you," but it's something that might have to hold off for a while.

I've also dreaded visiting the gas pump during the last week. The flu outbreak has forced me to think about how many people have touched the same gas handle to fill their vehicles up. So when I finished filling up my Malibu this week, I immediately went inside the gas station to wash my hands.

There have been reports of people dying from the flu outbreak, and I feel it's our duty to do everything we can to prevent the spreading of germs. Washing our hands, being careful of what we touch in public areas and covering our mouths when we cough are just a few ways we can help fight this outbreak.

Let's play our part by preventing the spread of germs.