We do a lot of catching in our lifetime. We catch feelings, we catch flights. We catch up on missed Netflix episodes. And on occasion, we, unfortunately, catch a cold or flu.
While, a cold and flu are definite things we wish not to catch. Some things can’t be undone. BUT!!! We can be a little more vigilant when it comes to practicing effective and preventative measures in order, not to catch a cold or flu.
In the wake of the current flu season. Now is the perfect time to test our knowledge. We must ensure we are practicing healthy, hygienic habits effectively and efficiently.
For instance, what is the optimal length of time for proper handwashing?
Or, what’s the easiest way we can we help our kids to remember to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze?
And what is it, that we do 432 times a day, on average, that we should drastically reduce during the flu season?
The YUCK Factor
How do we catch viruses?
The cold, flu and now, the new 2019-1Cov virus, are all transmitted the same way. Any person that has caught any said virus. Can pass harmful bacteria on when they sneeze, cough or spit.
When doing so, microscopic droplets are released from their respiratory system and suspended in the air eventually falling onto a surface (or someone).
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a sneeze may produce up to 40,000 droplets and a cough, 3,000 droplets. Those who are close in range, can inhale these suspended droplets and become infected.
Touching contaminated surfaces with our hands is another way to become infected. If we rub our eyes, bite our nails scratch our nose or rest our head on our hands, after touching a contaminated surface. We are then, at potential risk of becoming infected.
Double-check our hygiene habits
It’s always good measure, to ensure you and your loved ones, are taking the proper precautions and preventive measures to avoid get sick and infecting others during the nasty cold and flu season.
Some of the preventative measures are the SAME precautions for spreading viruses to others. Also, in general, good life habits:
⦁ washing hands, using disinfectants and hand sanitizers
⦁ covering mouth when sneezing and coughing
⦁ managing a healthy lifestyle -boosting immunity, eating well, exercising, self care, no smoking, etc.
⦁ maintaining a clean living and work space
Additional preventative measures are:
⦁ getting a flu vaccination
⦁ avoiding those who are sick
⦁ avoid touching your face – eyes, nose and mouth
Additional precautions to passing on the flu and colds are:
⦁ seek proper medical attention at the first sign of symptoms
⦁ avoid crowded areas / mass gatherings
⦁ wear a mask when in public
⦁ stay home
⦁ don’t spit in public
Are we doing the above properly?
Let’s take a closer look at simple hygiene habits that we could improve on.
Effective Best Practice: Hand hygiene
When the flu & cold season is in full attack mode. It’s our social responsible to practice healthy habits, correctly.
The next time you wash your hands, count the seconds it takes.
Washing hands is an obvious way to ward off germs. The question is, are we all washing our hands effectively?
The amount of seconds the WHO’s (World Health Organization) states proper hand washing is for 20 seconds to kill germs. And what should be happening during those 20 seconds is as follows:
A good general house rule is. The first thing you do when coming home, is to wash your hands.
Speaking of hands. Don’t be a handful.
And pass on giving and getting high 5’s.
The University of New South Wales, conducted a behavioral observation study that monitored 26 students. They concluded the students, on average, touched their face 27 times an hour. That’s 432 times a day based on an awake day of 16 hours.
Basically, when out and about in public spaces, it’s best to resist the urge to touch your face.
And for the nail biters, have a look at an experiment a teacher conducted in her classroom. Warning: The images will give you the heebie jeebies. Which is a temporary set back, to potentially bringing nail biting to a full stop.
Anyone else catch the ‘no spitting in public’ part on the WHO’s poster?
Spitting is gross, but mainly it is unhygenic. Why? It spreads airborne diseases.
The most common and harmful bacteria in spit are those that cause respiratory infections. Such as bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis, viral meningitis, cytomegalovirus and the Epstein barr virus.
When an infected person spits, they spray suspended droplets in the air (much like coughing and sneezing).
For the love of respiratory etiquette and hygiene. COVER your mouth!!
Avoid covering your mouth WITH YOUR HANDS, when coughing and sneezing. Use a tissue, throw it away immediately, or cough/sneeze into a flexed inner elbow.
How are all the cool kids coughing nowadays?
Let’s face it, at times, our health is partly dependent on the actions of others.
To put the above in perspective. A study from State Michigan University conducted a study of hand washing. The study revealed:
⦁ 5% washed their hands long enough & effectively to kill germs
⦁ 33% did not use soap
⦁ 10% didn’t wash their hands at all
⦁ on average, people wash their hands for 6 seconds
Find out more from health organizations:
CDC Centers for Disease Control
WHO World Health Organization
MOH Singapore Ministry of Health
NIH National Health Organization
Keep it happy and healthy my friends!