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Education Heath and Medicine

Save Your Life in 20 Seconds

The air moves like a river and carries the clouds with it; just as running water carries all the things that float upon it. Leonardo daVinci

Killer germs like staphylococcus and streptococcus pneumoniae are spread when infected people cough, sneeze, and spew airborne droplets into your breathing space.

 

They wipe their noses with their fingers and shield their cough with their hand – then touch your keyboard, use your phone, press elevator buttons, and push public shopping carts. Pneumonia and influenza account for 56,000 US deaths annually.

 

In 2011, TB killed 1.4 million people worldwide.

Protect yourself from those deadly pathogens and other potentially fatal infectious diseases by simply making proper and frequent hand-washing your priority.

On a busy work day, I wash my hands at least 25 times. No, I am not obsessive compulsive (ok…maybe a little). I do it to keep you and me safe.

There are lots of things you can do to keep yourself healthy, but nothing tops regular good old-fashioned sudsy soap and water hand washing. And if your hands aren’t obviously soiled, alcohol based hand cleaners will do. But proper hand washing is vital.  No prissy hand dipping, fingertip only splash n’dry, quick soap rinse and go stuff.  Your technique must be perfect.

Wet your hands, generously apply soap, lather and clean under your finger nails outside the stream of water for at least 20 seconds – about the time it takes to sing happy birthday twice – in your head please. Rinse under running water.

Hopefully you’ll have the automatic paper towel dispensers to finish the job.  Avoid the air dryers – they just recirculate germs.  Use your sleeve to open the door or patiently wait for someone else to do it for you.

And for those of you who need a reminder:  keep your germs to yourself. Cough into your arm instead of my face. Don’t take your runny noses to church, the store, school, wherever. Wash your hands too. Teach your kids.

If you cough in my path I will hold my breath until I turn blue so I don’t breath in germs.  I would never insult you by refusing to shake your hand, but as soon as the coast is clear, I am using my Purell.

For you visual learners, here’s a short demonstration on hand washing, complete with toe-tapping big band soundtrack.

By Kathy

I am a Nurse Practitioner from Rochester, NY presently working in both the inpatient and outpatient hospital psychiatric settings.

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