MASON CITY — With the first confirmed case of influenza in Cerro Gordo County being reported this week, it’s a good reminder for people to use some good health habits heading into the holidays.

CG Public Health disease prevention assistant manager Jeni Stiles says proper hand washing will help prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. “20 seconds, soap and water. Make sure you’re washing your hands after you’ve been out in the community, you know when you get home. Wash your hands with soap and water before you’re going to eat, if you’re going to prepare food for anybody else. Just pick up that good hand hygiene habit throughout the season. That’s going to be your best way to protect yourself from spreading germs to other people and picking up germs.”

Stiles says if you have a holiday event planned and you are sick, don’t go. ”If you are sick or not feeling well, don’t go, stay home. Keep the germs contained to one place. You can always meet up with family and friends later on, but we don’t want to go to a holiday event when we’re not feeling well and get everybody else sick.”

The latest figures from the Iowa Department of Public Health say that influenza activity is below the typical numbers for this time of the year, but has been increasing over the last few weeks.