LRH Gives Advice to Stay Healthy This Winter
It’s the time of year when the number of illnesses from colds, flu, and other viruses increases. However, Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) encourages you to take simple steps to minimize your risk of getting yourself and others sick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand washing is the best way to prevent infection and illness. LRH Quality Improvement Specialist Lori Birkland said, “Hands should be washed after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose, after using the restroom, after handling contaminated items such as dirty diapers, and when hands are visibly dirty or contaminated, before eating, before preparing food, and after handling uncooked meat and poultry. It’s also beneficial to wash hands after being in public areas, such as the grocery store, athletic events, or church.”
When washing hands, the CDC recommends using soap and water and following these steps:
1. Wet your hands with running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
2. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces of your hands.
3. Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds (imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through).
4. Rinse hands well under running water.
5. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
6. Open the bathroom door with the paper towel to prevent re-contaminating your hand if possible.
If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand rub to clean your hands. When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
1. Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
2. Rub hands together.
3. Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.
Other good health habits include staying at least three feet away from people who are sick and frequently cleaning high touch areas such as doorknobs, telephones, and refrigerator handles.
There are things you can do to help prevent others from getting sick if you happen to get sick yourself. Birkland said, “When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick. Stay home from work, school, and running errands to help prevent others from catching your illness.”
Besides limiting contact with others when you are sick, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or sneeze and cough into your arm and sleeve instead of your hand. Birkland said, “That way the germs are on your sleeve instead of on your hands, preventing their spread to high touch areas and others.”