June 10, 2021

Hygiene and Your Immunity

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Simple measures go long distances when it comes to avoiding germs and infections. Become mindful of what you’re touching and handling to avoid picking up germs when you’re out in public.

Hygiene is the first defense mechanism for your immune system. When you're sloppy with hygiene, even the most optimized immune system gets overwhelmed.

Handwashing 

Handwashing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid getting sick. Yet most people skip this simple step.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It’s not necessary to use antibacterial soap—the rubbing and the water help remove germs from your hands. To make sure you’re washing for the full 20 seconds, sing the Happy Birthday song twice. While you’re singing, be sure to rub the soap and water around on all your fingers and between fingers. Don’t forget to wash the backs of your hands, too.

Always wash your hands when re-entering your home. Wash hands after using the bathroom and before cooking or eating anything. If you coughed or sneezed into your hand(s), wash them immediately.

Respiratory Etiquette 

Practice good respiratory etiquette. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don't use your bare hands, though. A tissue works if you have it handy. You can also cough or sneeze into your elbow area. Kids call this maneuver the Dracula pose! I’m sure you can figure out why!

Hand Sanitizer 

There will be times you need to clean your hands and there's no soap and water available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer product under those circumstances. Be sure the product has at least 60% alcohol content. Be cautious about children using hand sanitizers, though. If you must use hand sanitizer on children, always watch them carefully. You don't want them to ingest this product once it's on their hands.

Stop Touching! 

Be mindful of what you are touching when you’re out in public. Countless people have touched those doorknobs, handles, shopping carts, and money before you.

Anything that is frequently touched by the public, consider it contaminated. Think twice before you handle serving utensils in buffet restaurants. Avoid touching the pump handle with bare hands when you gas up your car. Think constantly about where you use your hands when you're in public.

You can use gloves or pull your sleeve over your hand to avoid touching a surface bare-handed. Or you can wrap a tissue or napkin on your hands to avoid touching something with your bare hands.

Disinfectant Wipes 

Use disinfectant wipes on surfaces when it makes sense. On airplanes, wipe down the headrest, tray table surfaces and sides, the seat belt and armrests. Also, wipe down the touch screen if there are individual screens for each seat. Be mindful of what you’re touching in the airplane lavatory. Always wash your hands thoroughly before exiting the lavatory. Use a paper towel to handle the doorknob as you exit.

Hands Off Your Face! 

Be mindful to avoid putting your hands anywhere near your face, nose, mouth or eyes. Once you start to pay attention to this habit, you will likely be shocked at how often you’re touching your face. Unfortunately, this is the most common route for germs to gain entry into your body. It's mandatory for you to pay attention to this habit and stop touching your face!

Cell Phone Hygiene 

Cell phones are dirtier than your bathroom! Did you know that? Recently, cell phone manufacturers have updated their guidelines about cleaning your cell phone. It's ok to use disinfectant wipes on your phone as long as you're careful about how wet the wipe is. Check with your cell phone manufacturer to get the latest recommendations.

No matter how strong your immune system is inside you, do everything to keep the germs out of you in the first place. Develop good hygiene habits and be aware of what you’re doing with your hands. These habits are the key to avoid introducing infections into your body.

What habits have you started doing to keep the germs out of your insides? Post in the comments and share.


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