For better or worse, the COVID pandemic of 2020 has brought all sorts of attention to our health, including many products that residents of Mission Valley and elsewhere can use to help improve their health or at least keep it from getting worse, perhaps requiring in-home care.
Unfortunately, the lack of a vaccine against COVID and fairly incomplete data about the actual virus since it’s so new, allows misinformation to creep in. This could be simple, generally harmless claims that drinking more herbal tea can help a little, or some of the more dangerous opinions like the ones that advise people to ingest bleach, silver, or other toxins. (Don’t do this!)
The staff at Accredited Home Care takes plenty of precautions for our staff and also lets our clients and their families know current and correct procedures to keep themselves and others safe.
We try to do this in a manner that’s realistic, follows local and state rules, and is firmly based on scientific research.
Although we’ve seen and heard some disagreements about some practices, such as masks, one area that seems common is the importance of keeping your hands clean.
Yes, it’s a practice we learned as kids and have had it reinforced all our lives. Washing your hands regularly is still a good idea, whatever your age, your health condition, your political background, and any other unique differences and distinctions that make you you.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasize how and why regular hand-washing is vital: it removes germs from your hands. Soap helps detach microbes from the skin and makes it easier to wipe away. When someone has access to soap, they also tend to scrub harder and longer.
Germs are everywhere, on every surface and every skin, but especially the hands and fingers.
Our hands are used to pick things up off the ground. We touch our faces, our mouths, our eyes, our noses, often without thinking about it. We scratch ourselves and pet our critters. We give high-fives, although these are less common. We move germs around, including the ones that can make ourselves or other people sick. Though handshaking is less popular now, it was also a popular way of spreading disease.
Antibacterial hand sanitizer, while useful if you don’t have access to hot water and soap, removes germs from the hands, which is good, but some types strip away beneficial bacteria as well. Plus, depending too much on antibiotics/antibacterial could cause problems in the future, as more and more bacteria evolve that are resistant.
As we’re learning – or maybe we learned in kindergarten or when mom inspected your hands before dinner – that simply getting them wet and then shaking them off isn’t good enough.
The CDC recommends thoroughly scrubbing the front and back of your hands with soap, including between your fingers and under your fingernails. Scrub hard so the soap creates foam/lather which also makes more germs stand out and wash out easier.
While you don’t have to perform surgery-style scrubbing every washing, you should consider taking at least 20 seconds to do it thoroughly.
Health experts suggest singing or humming a song or at least a chorus to fill that amount of time. “Happy Birthday” is a common tune that people know and also fits the length well. Plus, it’s a fun, upbeat song that many can associate with good times. Wish yourself a happy birthday, or maybe family members, friends, or pets.
Or, of course, you can use the same tune with the words to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or the alphabet song. You can also come up with your own silly words, something that could amuse family members.
Because we’re all washing our hands more often and it’s supposed to be a positive habit, not a negative, other people have come up with various songs or parts of songs that also fit this bill, everything from the 1980s classic “Come On Eileen” to Beyonce’s “Love On Top” or Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
If you want to dry your hands, then take 10-20 more seconds to complete this task, preferably with a surface that won’t contribute more microbes, such as a clean towel. Using an old dirty towel or wiping them on your legs might add more microbes.
Did you know that December includes a commemoration called National Handwashing Awareness Week? You do now! The annual occasion is an opportunity to learn more about the how and why of good hygiene and practice better habits.
It also ties in with a campaign the CDC is currently promoting: “Life is Better With Clean Hands.”
This effort encourages everyone to wash their hands more often and do a better job of it. To help, the agency offers a variety of downloadable posters and information that can be shared on social media. There are different messages for different groups of people, including people who work in food preparation jobs, office workers, parents, and general members of the population.