Note: This post originally appeared on October 16,2012, but given the changes in our weather,both with temperature fluctuations and precipitation changes.... aka, snow, rain, fog... I thought it would be timely and hopefully preventative to rerun it at this time.
Tis the season for sneezin'
If you, like many of us, either have children, or are around children, or in my case grandchildren, then this is for you!!
Colds, flu, and other viruses are rampant this time of year. Just take notice of the sneezing and coughing. Many try to suppress these sudden spasmodic expirations of breath through their noses and mouths by covering these parts with their hand. The next object that the hand touches is an automatic benefactor of the offending "bugs"!!
I try to be vigilant when it comes to cleanliness, but with little ones around ,there is no such thing as too clean!! Now, I am not talking about attempts to keep a shiny floor or not have the occasional spill or not even an appearance of a dust free living area..... I refer to the super efficient , highly visible appendages at the ends of your forearms....your hands!!!
Just as busy colonies of bees fly from flower to flower pollinating with each landing, our hands, and especially the hands of children fly from surface to surface polluting them with each touch ..with germs!!
At this time of year, and actually all times of the year, classrooms are filled to capacity with lively, energetic young people who just can't wait to explode out the doors of their warm, climate controlled environment. The last thing on their mind is the number of surfaces they have touched and where the next unsuspecting surface awaits.
There are many "common" areas that all the children use , for example, teacher's desk, computer screens and keyboards, door handles, pencil sharpeners ( do they still use those?) and bathrooms, just to name a few. The result is that all of these areas have become "infected" with whatever germs traveled with last set of hands that touched them.
Now, I want to be perfectly clear here, that the younger people in our lives are not the only culprits involved with the spread of infections like cold viruses, flu bugs and gastrointestinal diseases! We, who are adult are equally responsible.... perhaps even more so ,as we should know better!!!!
O.K., so enough of the finger pointing, let's move on and learn that the single most important activity that you can do to help stay healthy and well is Hand Washing!!! Despite all the high tech, fancy schmancy solutions available, plain running water and soap is the best. It is, however, necessary to wash ALL the surfaces of the hand. The palm, back of hand, between the fingers , and of course the thumb. Dry with a disposable paper towel if possible, when not at home.
There are over 100 different cold viruses ( rhinoviruses)that have been identified so far, as being the cause of the common cold. Each and every one of these can be spread in the ways that have been described above, so it is up to us..... yes, you too, to practice competent hand washing and to supervise those who are not yet aware of the impact that such a simple act can accomplish.
Here is a short demonstration of the proper technique... and yes, after all these years, I ,too am still learning how to wash my hands!!!!
Oh, yes, I would be remiss if I did not show the "new" proper way to sneeze when caught off guard and without a tissue. Use the crook of you elbow!!!
Information and video clip courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Photos courtesy of Google images