• Prevent Infection

    Good hygiene, coupled with regular medical care, goes a long way. With habits like washing your hands properly and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, you have the power to prevent many common illnesses and serious infections. Save yourself time, money and unpleasant symptoms with these recommendations.

    Preventing Common Infections

    Most common viruses, such as the cold and flu, can live on surfaces for up to three days. These simple cleaning tips can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick or of getting others sick.

    • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, including:
      • Cell phones.
      • Counters.
      • Door knobs.
      • Game remotes.
      • Handles (toilet, refrigerator and water faucets).
      • Keyboards.
      • Light switches.
      • Toys.
    • Cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm or the floor, not your hands.
    • Don’t touch your face or put your fingers in your nose or mouth without washing your hands with soap and water first.
    • Wash your hands often and especially:
      • Before preparing food.
      • Before eating food.
      • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
      • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
      • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

    You can also greatly reduce your chance of infection by:

    • Practicing safe sex.
    • Properly preparing and handling food, especially raw meat. Avoid foodborne illness and cross contamination by taking special precautions.
    • Staying up to date with your vaccinations. Vaccines protect against many different infections by exposing your body to a trace amount of the infection. It’s like showing your body the “bad guys” so the cops will recognize them and create a plan to take them down.

    How to wash your hands

    Did you know handwashing can prevent about 30 percent of diarrhea-related sicknesses and about 20 percent of respiratory infections? But you may not be washing your hands properly. Here’s how to kill hand germs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

    • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off tap and apply soap.
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
    • Don’t forget the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. (Tip: Hum the “happy birthday” song twice.)
    • Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.

    Follow these other hand washing tips to ward off sickness:

    • Don’t use antimicrobial tissues or soap. Using them can lead to antibiotic-resistant bugs over time.
    • If you don’t have access to soap or clean running water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Hand sanitizer can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands, but doesn’t get rid of all types of germs.
    • If you’re visiting a friend or family member at the hospital, washing your hands is one of the best ways you can help your loved ones heal. Do your part by washing your hands or using the hand gel dispensers at hospital and patient room entrances.