By: Mary Darden, Family Nurse Practitioner | Student Health Center
Germs are everywhere– some are harmless while others make you sick. Viruses and bacteria are “germs” that you cannot see without a microscope. That’s what makes them so sneaky! All of a sudden you find yourself sneezing, coughing, feverish, and fatigued. These symptoms are actually your body’s immune system fighting to keep us well by destroying the virus or bacteria that has so rudely invaded your body. Germs invade your body through various ways. One of the most common ways is through your hands. Some viruses and bacteria can remain on surfaces for days or even weeks. So when you open that door to a classroom, you never know what virus or bacteria you’ve just touched. Therefore, if you eat something or wipe your eye or nose, those germs can enter your body and can potentially make you sick.Bacteria and viruses can also spread through respiratory droplets and saliva. Respiratory droplets can also spread to surfaces through coughing and sneezing. A sneeze can spread up to 3-5 feet! This means when someone sneezes, coughs, or you kiss or share drinks or utensils, you can become infected. To help decrease the spread of germs during cold and flu season I have put together 7 practical ways you can protect yourself and others…
1. WASH YOUR HANDS for at least 20 seconds!
Before eating or touching your face and after touching surfaces or handshaking. Also, you may use alcohol based hand sanitizer and allow your hands to dry completely. Follow this link to learn how to properly wash your hands: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/hand/handwashing.html
2. Cover your cough or sneeze in your elbow, not your hand.
3. Get Vaccinated- talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated against the Flu and other communicable diseases. Make sure all your immunizations are up to date.
4. If you’re sick, Stay Home! Don’t spread your sickness to others.
5. Clean and disinfect surfaces with Clorox wipes or other over the counter disinfectants. The surface must be dry after washing to be completely clean.
6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control website to learn more about germs, staying healthy, and the flu:
AND REMEMBER: Eat healthy and nutrient dense meals, increase water intake, and exercise for at least 30 minutes daily to keep your body fit and immune system strong. This will help you to better fight diseases and illnesses.
For more about Healthy Living: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyliving/