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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Hand washing remains best step in fighting colds and flu

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Did you wash your hands? It’s a question we are used to asking our children, but it is a question we should constantly ask ourselves. Hand washing remains the single most important thing we can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness to others.

As children and adults, our hands carry millions of microbes. Most are harmless, but many cause illnesses such as colds and flu.

We can also pick up germs from objects and surfaces, such as doorknobs and stair railings touched by other people who are not properly washing their hands. Think about all the things that you touch each day and how many people may have touched them before you. From the telephone to the toilet, maybe you blew your nose in a tissue and then went outside to dig around the dirt. Did you handle money today? Whatever you did, you came into contact with germs. It’s easy for a germ on your hands to end up in your mouth. Think about how many foods you eat with your hands.

When we do not wash our hands properly, we spread these germs to other people, or give them to ourselves by touching our eyes, mouths, noses or open wounds on our bodies.

So when are the best times to wash your hands?

n Before eating or touching food (like if you’re helping cook or bake, for example)

n After using the bathroom

n After blowing your nose or coughing

n After touching pets or other animals

n After playing outside

n After visiting a sick relative or friend

How long should it take to effectively wash your hands?

Effective hand washing takes 20 seconds, or about the time it takes to sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday.”

What is the proper hand-washing technique?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should use the following technique:

1 Hands should be washed using soap and warm, running water.

2Hands should be rubbed vigorously during washing for at least 20 seconds with special attention paid to the backs of the hands, wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails.

3 Hands should be rinsed well while leaving the water running.

4 With the water running, hands should be dried with a single-use towel.

5 Turn off the water using a paper towel, covering washed hands to prevent recontamination.

Bell Flower Clinic invites public to try new website

The Marion County Public Health Department’s Bell Flower Clinic has updated its website, providing additional; information and the option of using email to contact clinic staff with questions.

The new website can be accessed at www.bellflowerclinic.org.

Bell Flower Clinic provides diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) for those 14 and older.

Those with questions can also call the clinic Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at (317) 221-8300.

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