Winter Chills & Ills

Now that we are now into the middle of winter a good portion of us parents, tutors and teachers are dealing with sick children and trying to remain healthy ourselves. We all know that the number one way to avoid picking up the germs, viruses, infections that can make us sick is by washing our hands well and often. Having worked in healthcare and food-service decades ago it became ingrained in me what the proper hand-washing techniques were. Being a manager in these industries I also learned how to watch employees and make sure they were following proper hand-washing and food-handling techniques.

That training still sticks with me and sometimes I actually wish it didn’t.  My personal observations from public washrooms is that despite 95% of the facilities I have gone to having soap, water and some type of drying mechanism only about 60% of the men who use the facilities wash their hands to some degree before they leave. Of that 60% only about half wash properly. Sad but my ‘unscientific’ observations are close to those scientific studies reported by Bradley Corp. and Harris Interactive.  On a positive note these studies do report that the percentages of women washing are higher and we agree that hand-washing is increasing and more people are doing it properly.

So for those of us who do wash properly how do we protect ourselves?

  • Keep washing our hands properly and often (See Below)
  • Teach and remind our children and spouses to wash properly
  • Change your bathroom linens often and do it more often from Sept. to May
  • Sanitize your bathroom often with Lysol or some other disinfectant
  • If someone in the house does get sick sanitize all your families toothbrushes daily
  • If the public washroom has a door keep the paper you used to dry your hands and use it to open the door. You’d be amazed at the germs breeding on that door handle!
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth (basically any bare skin) once you enter a public washroom
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it after you leave the public washroom

So what is the proper hand-washing technique? According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) it is to use soap and water and lather for at least 20 seconds. The CDC suggests singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice in order to wash your hands long enough to kill the vast majority of germs. The CDC article ‘Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives‘ is also a recommended read for everyone. To me proper hand-washing is one of the basics us parents (not schools) need to teach our children.

Great that I can remember hand-washing…now if I can just remember if it is “Feed A Cold and Starve A Fever” Or is it “Feed A Fever and Starve A Cold”? So what do I do with strep throat?

My daughter seems to have it and we have a doctor appointment in four hours for her. Guess that that might be a post for tomorrow!


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Filed under Health, Learning Resources, Parenting

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