Cold and Flu

As we move deeper into fall and closer to winter we approach the holiday season and cold and flu season. During this time we are more often indoors and spend more time visiting friends/relatives, attending parties and shopping. And its a time when we share a lot of germs.

The number of cold and flu infections greatly increases in late fall and through winter. So, it is important to do what you can to prevent getting an infection and further spreading germs.

When we sneeze or cough we produce droplets that can be propelled 3-4 feet away from us. It is said that a single sneeze can produce about 40,000 of these droplets. These droplets contain microbes that can live outside the body for up to two hours or more. This could be on a doorknob, faucet, keyboard, phones and many other surfaces. If you touch any of these surfaces and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you greatly increase your risk of getting sick.

The absolute best and easiest way to reduce your risk and help prevent spreading germs is hand washing.

You don't even need special antibacterial soap. Studies show that proper hand washing with regular soap is just as effective as using antibacterial soap. The problem is most people do not wash their hands properly. You're probably thinking, "Is there a WRONG way to wash my hands? I wet them, lather up, and rinse. It's easy."

It is easy! But the part most people are not aware of is that to be effective you need to thoroughly and vigorously lather/scrub/rub (whatever you call it) your hands for at least 15 seconds. You can time yourself by singing the Alphabet Song or the Jeopardy theme song. Both of these are around 15 seconds, as long as you don't speed sing through them.

Of course there are other great ways to help prevent getting a cold/flu. I'll discuss those in future blogs. But for now, remember:

  • Wash your hands often and well.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
  • Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

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