The flu starts with a germ or virus looking for a place to live, searching for a host and then another susceptible host and ingeniously finding ways of entry to unsuspecting people along the way. Germs come to live, stay and thrive through direct contact or through indirect contact when food, water or other substances contaminated by the germ enter the body. Germs enter through the droplet of a sneeze or a cough and can be carried through the air. There is protection and cleanliness is the key. Proper etiquette for coughing is into your sleeve. There germs die and people will marvel at your level of sophistication. Give yourself a gift and wash your hands. Wash before and after care. Wash before and after you put on gloves. Wash before and after handling dirty laundry. Wash before and after cleaning around any person that is ill or infirm. Use lots of water and lather your hands and wrists for at least 15 seconds. Rinse your hands well with fingers pointing down to keep the water from running up your arms. Dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. In a public washroom, use the recycled towel to open the door giving yet another barrier against germs on door handles. Here are some dos and donts for a healthier you. Bar soap can become a home for germs. Liquid soap is a safer alternative. Change towels and washcloths frequently. Replace toothbrushes often. Use a clean spoon each time you sample food during preparation. Clean the can opener after every use. Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water and air dry or (my favorite) use a dishwasher. Pour dirty mop water down the toilet to keep your sink clean. Germs are not fit to share. Referrals for hospice care are given by physicians, nurses, friends, neighbors, the patient or family members. Call 1-877-324-1686 to learn more about High Peaks Hospice or visit our Web site at www.highpeakshospice.com.