Illness Prevention Tips: Wash Your Hands! (Cough)

healthdepartment‘Tis the season of sickness and germs! Here is a friendly reminder from the Rogers County Health Department on when/how/why to wash your hands and stay healthy. Might seem obvious, but sometimes folks need a refresher. Might share this info with your employees, rather than sharing your germs. 

Respiratory DiseasesRespiratory diseases affect one’s ability to breathe and involve the airways as well as the lungs. There are many bacteria and viruses that can be spread by breathing in infectious droplets. Examples of respiratory diseases include pertussis, influenza, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and respiratory syncytial virus. These respiratory illnesses are spread from person-to-person by respiratory droplets released during talking, coughing, laughing or sneezing. Influenza and other respiratory viruses may also be spread by direct contact with contaminated objects and then touching one’s mouth or nose. The spread of pertussis through contaminated objects occurs rarely if at all.

How to prevent respiratory diseases:

  • Good hygiene habits prevent and reduce the transmission of influenza and other respiratory viruses by:
    • Covering your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when sneezing or coughing,
    • Disposing of tissues properly,
    • Washing hands frequently, and
    • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers if hands are not visibly soiled.
  • When sick with a fever and cough:
    • Stay home from work, school, church, or other daily activities outside of the home,
    • Avoid other crowded areas or events like shopping malls or sports arenas,
    • Do not visit nursing homes, hospitals, or other long-term care facilities,
    • Do not visit people at increased risk for severe flu-related complications.

Hand Hygiene – Your Health is in Your CLEAN Hands!

Good hand cleaning – also called hand hygiene – is the first defense against the spread of many illnesses. Germs on your hands can cause illnesses such as common colds, influenza (flu) and skin infections as well as more serious illnesses such as meningitis, bronchitis, hepatitis A and many types of diarrhea.

What is the best way to clean your hands?

  • Wash hands with soap and water to remove germs. This is the only way to clean hands that are plainly dirty.
      • First, wet your hands with warm water, then use liquid or a clean bar soap to work up good suds.
      • Rub your hands together strongly for at least 15 to 20 seconds to remove the “dirt”.
      • Be sure to scrub your nail areas, thumbs, wrists and back of hands because these areas are often missed.
      • Finish by rinsing your hands well, then drying with a clean towel.
      • In public areas, protect your clean hands by using the paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door.
  • Your hands can look clean, but germs may be present. To disinfect your hands, use an alcohol-based hand product such as a gel or foam. Alcohol-based hand products only work on hands that appear to be clean because they cannot remove “dirt”. Use enough of the product to completely moisten your hands, and then rub it in until your hands are dry.

When is it important to clean your hands?

  • Before, during and after you prepare food
  • Before you eat
  • Before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Before you insert or remove contact lenses
  • Before and after using sports/fitness equipment
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After you blow your nose
  • After you cough or sneeze into your hands
  • After you use the bathroom or change a diaper
  • After handling uncooked foods, especially meat, poultry or fish
  • After handling animals or animal waste
  • After you handle garbage or dirty laundry
  • After shaking hands
  • After touching unclean surfaces (even if they look clean)
  • More often when someone in your home is sick
  • Any time your hands are dirty

Please follow these important health practices and we wish you good health!

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