In light of flu season, the Genesee County Health Department wants to remind people that washing hands is the single most important thing you can do to prevent getting sick or passing an illness to another.

In a news release, the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) says most people touch their eyes, nose or mouth without even realizing it and these are the areas where germs can easily enter the body. The GCHD reminds individuals to always wash their hands before and after eating, sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. It's also important to wash hands after touching animals, garbage or using the bathrooms. Washing your hands regularly removes the germs that could otherwise get into food or that could be passed to an object such as a doorknob or toy.

The GCHD recommends washing hands by wetting your hands under clean, running water and lathering them with soap. Scrub them for at least 20 seconds paying close attention to between your fingers, under the nails and the back of hands. When finished, thoroughly rinse with water and dry with a clean towel or air dry.

The GCHD says washing hands can reduce the spread of respiratory illness by 21%. The use of alcohol based hand sanitizers can also provide an acceptable way to reduce the amount of germs if hand washing is not available. For more information regarding hand washing, please contact the GCHD at (810) 257-3156.