As we enter the dog days of the cold and flu season, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital is providing easy ways to stay healthy during the winter. St. Mary’s is encouraging everyone 6 months and older to get their flu vaccination.  

“Getting the flu shot is incredibly important for everyone, but especially for young children and people over the age of 65,” said Dr. Doug Carlson, medical director of HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital. “Influenza viruses are constantly changing, so it is highly recommended to get your flu shot annually to best protect yourself against the flu.” 

During the colder months, when the cold and flu are more present, St. Mary’s encourages everyone to keep their hands clean, both at home and in public settings.  

“Keeping our hands clean is an important step for not getting sick and spreading germs to others,” said Dr. Carlson. “Many sicknesses are spread from not properly washing our hands. By washing our hands, we can prevent germs spreading from person to person, into foods and onto objects.”  

Follow these five steps for proper handwashing.  

Step 1: Wet your hands with clean, running water, turn off the tap and apply soap. 

Step 2: Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.   

Step 3: Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. 

Step 4: Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. 

Step 5: Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. 

To find where you can get your influenza vaccination, visit

Media Contact

Andrew Dilbeck

HSHS Illinois
Office: 217-464-5610

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