Tag Archives: germs

National Handwashing Awareness Week: Prevent the spread of germs

National Handwashing Awareness Week is Dec. 5 – 11. Handwashing is one of the best and simplest ways to protect yourself, keep your family healthy and prevent the spread of germs.  

Germs can spread from person to person or from surfaces to people when you: 

  • Touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands 
  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands 
  • Touch surfaces or objects that have germs on them 
  • Blow your nose, cough or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects 

Frequently Asked Questions about Hand Hygiene 

What are the key times to wash hands? 
These are CDC’s key times you should wash your hands: 

  • Before, during and after preparing food 
  • Before eating 
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound 
  • After using the toilet 
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet 
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste 
  • After handling pet food or pet treats 
  • After touching garbage 
  • If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy 
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, you should immediately clean your hands by either washing them with soap and water or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 

Do I really need to wash my hands for 20 seconds? 
Many scientific studies have shown that scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds removes most of the harmful germs or chemicals from your hands. Making sure to scrub all areas of your hands, including your palms, backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails will help ensure you reach the 20 second mark.  

How does handwashing with soap and water remove germs and chemicals? 
Soap and water, worked into a lather, trap and remove germs and chemicals from hands. Lather forms pockets called micelles that trap and remove germs, harmful chemicals and dirt from your hands. That’s why it’s unnecessary to use antibacterial soaps.  

How do hand sanitizers work differently than handwashing? 
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol works by killing germs on your hands, while washing your hands with soap and water removes the germs from your hands. Handwashing removes germs that hand sanitizers may not be able to kill.  

From Other Blogs: New Nutrient Content Information Now Available Online, How to Stop Spreading Germs, Addressing Antibiotic Resistance

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

New Nutrient Content Information Now Online

Have you ever wanted to view food sources of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in your diet? The National Agricultural Library’s Food and Nutrition Information Center now houses 36 tables of foods according to their nutrient content. The tables are available for vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and macronutrients and are listed in household measure from the highest to lowest in nutrient content. – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

 

Stop Spreading Germs: Tips for Parents and Kids

It’s something all parents dread – a call from the school nurse telling you that your child is sick. We usually wonder how they got it and how to prevent everyone else in the family from catching it too. Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Prisma Health Telehealth, offers some tips to share with your children on how to prevent the spread of illnesses. And if you do find yourself with an ill child, when to keep them home from school. – From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog

 

Urgent Care Collaborating to Address Antibiotic Resistance

Laurel Stoimenoff, PT CHC Chief Executive Officer of the Urgent Care Association (UCA) and its member are concerned about the looming antibiotic resistance crisis. In collaboration with the College of Urgent Care Medicine (CUCM), we have decided to be part of the solution. From Safe Healthcare, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blog

 

Take These 3 Steps To Combat The Flu

The Centers for Disease Control is recommending that we take three actions to combat the flu:

  1. Take time to get a flu vaccine
  2. Take preventive actions to stop the spread of germs
  3. Take antiviral Drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

Get vaccinated

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine, which is the first and most important step in protecting against influenza.

Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. There are data to suggest that even if someone gets sick after vaccination, their illness may be milder.

Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.

People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and others who live with or care for high risk people.

Stop the spread of germs

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to avoid infecting them.

If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Take flu antiviral drugs if they are prescribed

If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.

Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 48 hours of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on the three actions you should take to combat the flu.

Handwashing: A Simple, Effective, Painless Way To Help Fight Germs

Want to know a simple, effective, painless way to protect yourself and others and put a stop to the spread of germs? Wash your hands.

Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and keep from spreading germs to others. It is particularly important to wash your hands at appropriate times before, during and after preparing food, after using the toilet and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

It’s flu season. While getting the annual flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, it’s also important to wash your hands. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

So, how should you wash your hands to make sure they are clean? Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If clean, running water is not accessible, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean your hands.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on handwashing.

These Basic Flu Facts Can Help You Protect Yourself And Others

No matter how healthy you are, you can be affected by the flu.

If you have not gotten your yearly flu vaccine, now is a good time to do so because it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop a protective response and it is the best way to prevent the flu. Protecting yourself against the flu also helps to protect your loved ones and others you come into contact with.

Here are some tips to help protect you and your loved ones this flu season.

  1. The flu and how is it spread

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe, even deadly illness — especially in vulnerable people. Symptoms can include fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness. 

Seasonal flu is usually spread from person to person. People who have the flu may spread it to others from about one day before they develop symptoms for up to seven days after.  Flu viruses are spread when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk spread respiratory droplets. Others become infected when these droplets are inhaled or enter the nose or mouth by touching with hands that have been soiled by the respiratory droplets.

2. Some people at higher risk

Anyone, including healthy people, can get the flu, but certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people (especially people 65 years of age and older), young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease). While it is important for everyone to receive their yearly flu vaccine, it is especially important for people in these high-risk groups to do so.

3. Ways you can help prevent the flu

Remember, the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get your flu vaccine each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHEC recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

In addition, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following preventive measures:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home from work, school and errands if you are sick to avoid getting others sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue if one is handy; throw it away immediately after use. Otherwise, use the crook of your elbow to cover yourself.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when someone touches something that is covered with germs and then touches one of those areas.

Other good habits include getting plenty of exercise and sleep, managing your stress, drinking water and eating good food to help you stay healthy in the winter and all year.

  1. Places where you can get the flu vaccine

Remember, it’s important to get the flu vaccine not only to protect yourself, but also your loved ones from the seasonal flu. Even if you don’t have a regular health care provider you can still get the flu vaccine. In addition to DHEC, many local providers — including doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces — now offer flu vaccines. We encourage everyone to find the facility that works best for them.

To find the DHEC seasonal flu clinic nearest you, click here.

For more information: www.scdhec.gov/flu.