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Practice Preventative Health Etiquette During Cold and Flu Season

Practice Good Health Hygiene Etiquette and Wash Your Hands Often to Avoid Spreading and Catching Germs

Practice Good Health Hygiene Etiquette and Wash Your Hands Often to Avoid Spreading and Catching Germs

There is no doubt about it. We are now in cold and flu season. In fact, this year, even with the flu vaccine, people are still developing all sorts of variations of colds, flu and upper respiratory infections. Respiratory bacterial infections and viruses affect the nose, throat and lungs; they include the flu, colds, bronchitis and whooping cough. The germs that cause these illnesses are spread from person to person via airborne droplets expelled from the nose, throat and lungs of someone who is sick.

Practicing Proper Health Etiquette

During December we celebrate National Hand Washing Awareness Day, which is one of the major preventative actions we can take to deter the spread of germs. But what else can we do? Dr. Zack recommends practicing the following good preventative health habits to help stay “in the pink” this flu and cold season.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Especially after using an ATM, a touchpad at checkout stations, public restrooms, touching a railing in any public place, elevator buttons… the list is endless.
  • Wash your hands before eating.
  • Whenever possible, avoid close contact with people who are visibly sick, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  • Practice good “health etiquette” and when you are sick, don’t expose your germs to the public. Stay home from work, school, and doing errands when you are sick to help prevent others from catching your illness. And keep your distance from household members to protect them from getting sick too. Rule of thumb is 24 hours without a fever
  • Use a tissue, double layered, to cover your mouth and nose when coughing, blowing your nose or sneezing. It helps reduce the spread of airborne water or mucus droplets to others. Dispose of the tissue immediately in the trash. Don’t leave a pile of used tissues around. Then wash your hands or hand sanitizer.
  • Germs spread when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Keep your fingers away from those areas, especially when in public or near family members who are ill. It is held by most experts that viruses predominantly spread through droplets expelled when sick people cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets have the potential to land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, as well as on any surfaces. Keep your fingers away from those areas, especially when in public or near family members who are ill.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects within your control – counters, doorknobs, TV remote, sink handles, toys, whatever members of the family touch often. Try not to touch areas where an ill person has just been.
  • Don’t share share food, utensils or beverage containers, towels, lipstick, toys, or anything else that might be contaminated with respiratory germs.
  • Follow a healthy daily regimen – get a good night’ rest, exercise, take steps to manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat maintain a healthy diet.

When It’s Time to Visit Dr. Zack

You can help stop the spread of germs. Implementing these healthy habits can help protect everyone from getting germs or spreading germs at home, work, out in public places, or school. But if you do catch the bug, see Dr. Zack at Johns Creek Family Medicine at the first signs of the flu – there are anti-viral medications that can shorten the duration of the illness. If you continue to have a persistent cough and/or fever, or congestion that won’t clear up, it’s also recommended to contact Dr. Zack, take your  prescribed medication and get lots of rest. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine is located in Johns Creek, serving patients in South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties and the surrounding North Atlanta area.

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