Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Family Medicine: Shedding Microbes and Spreading Germs

How long do people with respiratory infections spread microbes?  (Several days)

Family Physicians warn people about spreading infection every day.  A sneeze goes more than ten feet through the air, carrying microbes that may enter another person.  A great site to review how to avoid the spread of germs is www.HenrytheHand.com, where Henry the Hand teaches infection control:

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness
1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
2. DO NOT cough into your hands
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth

Microbes from respiratory infections continue to spread via tiny droplets in the air or by an infected person touching someone after touching their "T Zone" on their face.  Germs are so tiny they might as well be invisible, so people accidentally spread them to others when they may wrongly assume themselves to no longer be contagious.

This time of the year is a difficult one for families who visit other family members, often while spreading infection by not washing their hands, touching their "T Zone" or not covering a cough or sneeze with an elbow.  If your Uncle Bill coughs on his hands then grabs a biscuit from the biscuit bowl, slightly touching several biscuits, he may be spreading infection.

Start a new family tradition this year by inviting relatives and friends to visit the Henry The Hand web site.  Have a whole family full of Champion Handwashers!

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