Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Reduce the Chance of the Flu and Other Illnesses

As the weather gets colder, we spend most of our time inside. Close contact with others increases the chances of getting the flu, colds, and other illnesses. It's important to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of getting the person you are caring for ill, or becoming ill yourself. These recommendations are important for the caregiver AND person requiring care to follow:

Wash your hands and your loved one's hands frequently. It is important to wash thoroughly before working in the kitchen and after handling soiled or contaminated materials and after using the bathroom. Pay attention to cleaning around the nailbeds and underneath nails as these are good places for germs to hang out.

Clean counters, tables and shelves where food is prepared and stored. Food may be contaminated if it is placed on soiled work areas or in unclean containers.

Keep foods covered. Close cartons and replace covers to prevent contamination or infestation by bugs. All perishable foods should be stored in the refrigerator, especially cooked foods.

Dispose of garbage. Drain off liquid before putting it in a paper or plastic-lined pail. Roll or wrap garbage in paper and place outside in large, covered can each day.

Recyclable containers such as tin cans and bottles should be rinsed out to destroy odors and discourage insects and small rodents - such as rats and mice which are great carriers of disease. Wash garbage cans, dirty water pails and trash cans with hot, soapy water.

Clean all areas of the bathroom carefully, especially around the toilet. The warmth and moisture of the bathroom are easy places for germs to grow.

Cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Droplets released into the air can spread the flu and cold as a person breathes in the air. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

Put used tissues into the waste basket immediately so that others don't pick them up and use them. Keep a paper bag or waste basket close by to place used tissues in.

Cover open sores or cuts on the fingers or hands with clean bandages and wear disposable gloves. If these sores are slightly infected, serious infection could be transmitted while handling food.

Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Rest is a requirement for a healthy immune system which will help you fight off infection.

Eat a well-balanced diet and supplement your diet with a multivitamin with minerals daily to boost your immune system.

Research has also shown that daily exercise will also help your immune system fight off illness.