B-FIT | Catch germs before they spread
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — With holiday gatherings, New Year celebrations, and constant traveling, hand washing is one of the most important ways to prevent getting sick and spreading germs.
Many illnesses, including the common cold, are spread by not washing hands properly with soap and water. According to statistics from the National Library of Medicine, the common cold accounts for approximately 22 million missed days of school and 20 million absences from work (which includes time away from work to care for sick children).
According to experts at the World Health Organization, “Hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections. You can spread certain ‘germs’ (a general term for microbes like viruses and bacteria) by touching another person even casually. You can also catch germs when you touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch your face.”
The children are taught through the B-FIT program in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to not touch their “T-Zone” — eyes, nose and mouth.
Students often don’t clean their hands often or well enough. In one study, only 58 percent of female and 48 percent of male middle and high school students washed their hands after using the bathroom.
Of these, only 33 percent of the females and 8 percent of the males used soap.
BASIC HAND HYGIENE
Routinely wash your hands with soap, including before and after lunch, after using the rest room, and in between meetings or social contact.
A National Healthy Hand Washing Survey revealed most people are not washing their hands long enough, with 57 percent of respondents estimating they wash their hands for just 5 to 15 seconds. The Centers For Disease Control recommends washing for at least 20 seconds and suggests singing “Happy Birthday” twice to allow enough time to remove flu and cold germs.
Because germs can be transmitted from virtually anything you come in contact with, keep a surface cleaner or disinfecting spray or wipes handy for daily wipe-down of the two most common items you touch each day, your counters, tables, keyboards and telephone. Some products are designed to kill the germs that lead to cold and flu suffering — read the product label to be sure.
It is important for parents to teach children the proper way to brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
If you do drink acidic liquids or eat sugary foods, be sure to rinse your mouth with water.
Kids should eat foods that will strengthen their teeth such as milk, cheese, and vegetables.
Brush and floss twice daily, and after meals — oral hygiene should be routine to avoid problems.
Maintain regular dental check-ups.
Prevention is the most powerful form of self defense from health problems!
This article is provided by The B-FIT Team at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance and the TFHD Wellness Neighborhood. For more information on wellness, visit the Tahoe Forest Health System’s website at http://www.tfhd.com.
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