Simple Ways to Keep Infection at Bay
Sometimes, simple old-fashioned health practices are just what the doctor ordered. This is especially true for common cold and flu.
“Two of the most powerful ways to prevent the spread of infection are actually quite low tech: washing hands and getting immunized,” notes Camilo Cu, MD, pediatrician at PIH Health. Parents and caregivers play a vital role in teaching children how to wash their hands by teaching them five steps to handwashing – wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry.
“Illnesses like cold and flu are spread via droplets from a cough or sneeze. These droplets can travel as far as three feet,” says Dr. Cu. “We take them in through the air we breathe or by touching a surface that’s been infected, and then touching our eyes, mouth or nose.”
To prevent the spread of germs, Dr. Cu recommends washing hands frequently for 20 seconds or about the same time if you sing the “Happy Birthday” song from start to finish twice. Use alcohol-based gel or hand wipes when soap and water are not available.
When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue and then dispose of it immediately. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
Dr. Cu also urges parents to follow up with their children’s pediatrician regarding the flu vaccine and other strategies for keeping illness at bay.