WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Just in time for the holidays, flu season is in full swing.

The CDC says the infection has already killed 1,800 people since the official season began in late September.

At least 3 million people have gotten sick, with 32,000 hospitalized.

As family and friends gather for the holidays, doctors say proper handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

The Maryland Department of Health said that there are four simple steps to keeping your hands clean:

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
  2. Add soap, then rub your hands together, making a soapy lather. Do this away from the running water for at least 20 seconds, being careful not to wash the lather away. Wash the front and back of your hands, as well as between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Rinse your hands well under warm running water. Let the water run back into the sink, not down to your elbows.
  4. Dry hands thoroughly with a clean towel. Then turn off the water with a clean paper towel and dispose of in a proper receptacle.
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