WOW! It’s been a long time since I posted here. I was at Husker Harvest Days last week, and since then Morgan has been sick and I’ve been having back problems, so we’ve spent a lot of hours in the doctor’s office and at Physical Therapy.
At the Farm Progress Show in Illinois, and Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, I spoke on “Stretching Your Healthcare Dollars.” I got many positive comments about the talk, so I’m going to post excerpts from it here on the blog. If you have any questions or comments, please post them!
The Single Most Effective Way to Prevent the Spread of Illness
Cold and flu season, unfortunately, is almost here! I think people everywhere cringe at the thought of catching whatever bug is going around . . . and millions of hours of work and days of school will be missed during the upcoming months because of illness.
But there is something you can do to protect yourself against illness, and you will be surprised at the positive effect this simple measure can have on your life! It is . . . washing your hands, correctly and often.
You see, germs enter your body through your mucous membranes–your eyes, nose, and mouth–when you touch them with germ-laden fingers. We touch our face many times throughout the day, often as a habit or unconsciously. Every time you touch your face, you’re moving germs from whatever you’ve touched in the last few minutes–someone else’s hand, the handle of the shopping cart, or the bottle of water the clerk handed back to you after she scanned it at check-out–to your face.
By washing your hands often–before eating, after going to the restroom, after leaving stores, etc.–you’ll get rid of many of those germs before they have the chance to enter your body.
BUT–many people inadvertently re-contaminate their hands just after they wash them! Think of the process of washing your hands; turn on the faucets, wash and rinse your hands, turn off the faucets–OOPS! there it is–when you turn off the faucets that you just seconds ago turned on with your germy hands, you get your germs, as well as anyone who touched the faucets with THEIR germy hands before you, on your (previously) clean hands.
The solution? Easy, once you know what it is. BEFORE you turn on the water, check out where the paper towels are (in your own home, make sure they’re near the sink). Dispense the paper towels if they’re in a trigger-type dispenser (and you can’t get to them by touching just the paper towel; remember, the trigger on the dispenser will be full of germs, too).
Then, turn on the water, lather up (experts say you should wash for about 20-30 seconds–the time it takes to sing “Yankee Doodle” or “Happy Birthday”. I suggest just humming the song to yourself if you’re in public! ) Rinse. BUT–BEFORE you turn off the water, dry your hands with the previously-dispensed paper towels.
Turn off the faucets WITH THE PAPER TOWEL! Now, if the door to the restroom opens inward, use the paper towel to touch the handle–the handle that houses the germs deposited there by everyone before you who either didn’t wash their hands, or did so incorrectly.
It will take a little practice to get the habit ingrained, but will be well worth the effort.
A WORD ABOUT GEL SANITIZERS–you see them all the time–the gel, waterless, alcohol-based sanitizers. But do they work? In word, YES! They work so well that many hospitals and doctors offices have dispensers in every patient room, so health care workers and visitors and patients can easily use them. Experts say you should use enough that it takes about 30 seconds for them to evaporate on your hands.
I keep bottles of hand sanitizer in my purse and car, and use them often.
There you have it–the single most effective way to prevent the spread of illness this winter!
Do you have trouble responding to someone who makes critical comments about everyone, including yourself? Find the solution–what to say and do, and what not to say and do, in What Should I Say? The Right (and Wrong!) Words and Deeds for Life’s Sticky, Tricky, Uncomfortable Situations. To read an excerpt, go to www.shellyburke.net.