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Posts Tagged ‘staying healthy’

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It’s flu and cold season.  Avoiding germs helps us avoid the flu and colds, so where are the germs lurking?  You might be surprised to find where you can encounter the most germs.

 

  • Home: Your kitchen is the germiest place. It has more bacteria than your bathrooms due to the germs on raw meat and produce.  Clean and disinfect or sanitize your kitchen sink often.  If you use a sponge, be sure to run it through the dishwasher after each use.  Also, make sure to disinfect your kitchen counter-tops.  Cold and flu germs can usually remain active on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces longer than on fabric or other types of soft surfaces. iphone-37856__340
  • Cellphone: Since we carry our cellphones everywhere, they are usually loaded with bacteria including viruses like the flu.  Frequently clean your smartphone with an alcohol-free antiseptic wipe. (Alcohol is not good for your screen.)
  • Purse: Do you hang your purse or set it on the floor?  Floors are really dirty places, especially restroom floors. Hang your purse on a hook or the back of a chair when possible, never put your purse on the kitchen counter, and regularly wipe your purse with a disinfectant wipe.
  • Workplace: You may think the worst place is the restroom, but the ground-floor elevator will probably beat it out for the germiest place.  Another place is the break room- especially the coffee pot handle and the water dispenser.  Wash your hand as soon as you can after touching either one of these items. menu
  • Restaurants: Guess what everyone touches?  The menu has the most bacteria.  Thus, after ordering your food, go to the restroom and wash your hands or take some hand sanitizer and use it before eating.
  • Grocery Stores: If you guessed the grocery cart, you are right.  Use a disinfecting wipe on the handles.  If you use reusable grocery bags, put them on the floor, not the kitchen counter, and wash them often in hot water and bleach.  Always wash your hands or sanitize them after shopping.

Washing your hands often with soap and water is the key to avoiding getting sick. hands-2238235__340 This is the best way to reduce the germs you are exposed to. Be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds and build up a lather before rinsing.

And remember, eating nutritious food and being physically active will also help you stay healthy and fight infections.

Hope you avoid the flu and colds this season!

 

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

 

References:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018).  Preventive Steps.  Available at  https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm

Leamy, E. (2017). The Most Germ-Infested Places You Encounter Every Day – and How to Avoid Getting Sick. The Washington Post.  Available at https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/17/the-most-germ-infested-places-you-encounter-every-day-and-how-to-avoid-getting-sick/

Steckelberg, J. M. (2015).  Flu Germs:  How Long Can They Live Outside the Body?  Mayo Clinic.  Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/expert-answers/infectious-disease/faq-20057907.

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We have all heard of the superbugs which researchers warn us about.  Superbugs doPill bottlesn’t respond to the antibiotics we often use to treat infections.  They have become resistant to the antibiotics we have available.  The problem is due to the overuse of antibiotics making them less effective in fighting bacteria.

We are being warned to ask doctors not to prescribe antibiotics for some infections.  Since most of us trust our doctors and don’t question what they say, we need to educate ourselves on what conditions may not need an antibiotic.  We also need to know how we should respond when we do have certain infections.

Consumer Reports has provided some information about infections we should question our doctors about before taking antibiotics.  They feel most of these infections (listed below) do not respond to antibiotic treatment.  Antibiotics treat bacterial infections and are not effective against viral infections (caused by viruses).  When most of us go to the doctor we want a pill (quick fix) to take care of whatever we have, so doctors have gotten used to prescribing antibiotics just in case there is a bacterial infection with the virus.  Most of us would get better without any antibiotics, but we credit the pill for making us better.

If you experience these conditions ask your doctor if they think antibiotics will really help:

Table for Pat's blog

To reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance check with your doctor to make sure antibiotics are necessary.  Use antibiotics only as prescribed by your doctor and IMG-Wash-Hand-Sticker-Remindertake as the prescription recommends.  To keep germs away practice good personal hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and while preparing food.  Make sure you and your children receive all the recommended vaccinations.  Eating healthy and being active are also keys to staying healthy.

 

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator

 

References:

Consumer Reports. (2016). When to Say No to Antibiotics for Infection.  Available at https://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/when-to-say-no-to-antibiotics-for-infection/

Mayo Clinic, (2014).  Consumer Health.  Mayo Clinic. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/antibiotics/art-20045720

Skinner, G. (2010).  Just Say No to Antibiotics for the Cold and Flu.  Consumer Reports.    Available at https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2010/11/just-say-no-to-antibiotics-for-the-cold-and-flu/index.htm

Goff, D. (2017). Battling Superbugs. The Ohio State University.  Available at https://www.osu.edu/features/2017/battling-superbugs.html?utm_campaign=UNIV%20March%20Connect%20with%20MyOhioState&utm_medium=email&utm_source=EOACLK

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Handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others. Despite the importance of how people should wash hands many young and old forget. Germs are tiny microorganisms that exist all around us and are invisible to the human eye.

They are different types of germs and how long they can live on the surfaces. These germs are on handles, door, keyboards, cell phones, shopping carts and most things we touch daily. Touching one of these contaminated surfaces then touching your eyes, nose, mouth, a cut, or other opening in the body, can lead to an infectious disease.

Some germs live in body fluids like mucus, pus, and stool. Even the invisible drops released when people talk, cough, sneeze can carry germs. Some germs spread through the air when some one coughs or sneezes they can release germs. When harmful germs are inhaled, they can cause illness.

Communicable diseases are ones that we can spread from one person to another. Handwashing is like a “do-it-yourself” vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (think Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrhea and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. There are many vaccines to help us prevent many of these infectious diseases but for other illnesses the number one way to for prevention is HANDWASHING!

Start with Healthy Preventative Habits:

  • Wash Hands often. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available. Rub hands together to make lather and scrub all surfaces. Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Rinse hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet. hands
  • Wash hands after using bathroom, playing with pets, being outside
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve- don’t cough into the air or on your hands
  • Handle and prepare food safely
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Don’t share personal items … like drinking from the same cup.

 Get Immunized: A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. Protect yourself, your family, and friends.

Remember Handwashing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others. Reducing illness increases productivity, less time at doctor appointments and more time at work or school. Protect yourself today get immunized and wash your hands!

Writer: Marie Economos, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Western Reserve EERA, economos.2@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Resources:

Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

Ohio Department of Health: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/features/odhfeatures/handwashing.aspx

 

 

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