Preventing sickness during cold and flu season

By Robin Edwards, PTA · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
 Tis the season ... for colds, flu and viral infections.  It has already started.

I have heard of several cases of colds and flu already. There is one single thing that we can pay attention to that will really help.  Yes, I know. You hear it all the time: Wash your hands. 

Well, there is a lot of truth to it and here are some facts that might help you believe it:

1.  95 percent of Americans says that they wash their hands after using a public toilet.  However, when 8,000 people were monitored across five large cities in the U.S., they found the actual number to more like 67 percent. Chicago topped the list at 83 percent.  (I just returned from a weekend in Chicago … hummm).

2.  A recent study showed that 21 percent of the health- care workers in ICU had varying counts of Staphylococcus aureus on their hands.

3.  When it comes to hands, fingernails and the surrounding areas harbor the most microorganisms.

4.  When we handle money, it has the germs of all the people who have touched it before us.

5.  The CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 15 seconds, though studies show that the reduction of skin bacteria is nearly 10 times greater by washing with soap for 30 seconds.

So what can we do to avoid germs?

1.  When opening a door, if it pushes out, use your arm or back to open it.

2.  Keep your hands out of your mouth and eyes.

3.  Put a blanket in the grocery cart for the toddler to sit in so they don’t suck on the handle.

4.  Do not give the baby your keys to play with.

5.  Wash hands before eating in a restaurant or  keep sanitizer in your purse or pocket so after you look at the menu, you can sanitize.

6.  Cough into your elbow, not your hands.

7.  Clean the mouse for the computer, your phone, keyboard or anything else you touch all the time.

8.  If you visit someone in the hospital or are in the hospital, use sanitizer throughout the day.

9.  Use the sanitizer that grocery stores provide and wipe the cart handle off.

These are just a few of the ways to avoid becoming sick.  They are common sense; however, a simple reminder brings the topic front and center.

Fall is a beautiful time of the year. Stay healthy and enjoy it.  Also, don’t forget to get the flu shot.
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