NEWTON Washing hands and paying close attention to symptoms of illness are just some of the things the public can to do help reduce the risk from the H1N1 flu, formerly known as swine flu, according to the American Red Cross. Red Cross officials said this is a good time for families, businesses and organizations to follow good public health practices and to review and update their preparedness plans., The American Red Cross urges the public to remember these simple actions: Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective when soap and water aren’t available. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you’re feeling sick. Children can also be greatly impacted by this outbreak, and need to know how to properly wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs. The Sussex County Chapter of the American Red Cross has a program called “Scrubby Bear” to help educate children about the importance of hand washing to protect them against influenza. Scrubby Bear is a free program offered to day care centers and preschools. To schedule the Pandemic Flu Presentation for your club, group or organization at your facility or to schedule a presentation of “Scrubby Bear” contact the American Red Cross at 973-579-1600.