Our Immune System is in a constant battle with germs. Consistent mild exposure allows your body to build up resistance to stronger viruses and bacteria. So, it’s important to not over sanitize your environment when the risk is low.
I’m not normally that person who is obsessive about washing my hands and sanitizing the shopping cart when I run to the grocery store, but when I hear all the coughing and sniffling I step up my game and I encourage you to do the same.
Do you wash your hands properly? And frequently enough? Most of us don’t. When you wash your hands, you should lather up with soap and scrub your whole hand, palm, back, between fingers and under nails for at least 20 seconds. I’ve attached a short video to help demonstrate. Most of us know to wash after using the bathroom and before preparing food, but you should also wash several times a day, especially if you’ve been in public spaces where others may have also come in contact with things like door knobs, banisters, chairs, buttons, key pads or key boards. A virus can live on some surfaces for up to 24 hours.
If you don’t have access to a soap and water, you can use an alcohol based hand sanitizer in between hand washings.
Speaking of hand sanitizer, I would like to mention Triclosan, a chemical antibacterial and antifungal agent used in a variety of consumer products. I personally avoid it as much as possible. I’ve read that the FDA has banned it’s use in some products as it may be contributing to making bacteria resistance to antibiotics. It still remains in thousands of other consumer products and there is growing evidence that Triclosan is a hormone disruptor and is associated with a decrease in levels of some thyroid hormones.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. On average, most people touch their faces 4 times per hour. Our skin offers some protection from germs, but when we transfer germs from our hands to our faces we give the germs direct access to our inner systems.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, ideally with something disposable, like a tissue. Then dispose of it. I personally love using cloth hankies for my runny nose when I have allergies, but when I might be contagious, I switch to disposable. You should also wash your hands before touching other people or surfaces after sneezing or coughing. I love the Mythbusters, here’s a video testing the 3 most common attempts at containing a sneeze.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school, especially when someone is ill. When in public, avoid touching frequently touched surfaces when possible and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before returning to your home or work place to prevent brining a virus home.
When using sanitizing wipes or sprays, it’s important to let the solution stay on the surface for a few minutes without wiping it off. The longer the solution is on the surface the more germs it will kill. According to the Clorox site, “Use enough wipes for the treated surface to remain visibly wet for 4 minutes”.
I personally don’t use strong chemicals to clean and sanitize my house. I prefer good old soap and water, vinegar or essential oils. Here’s a great article from EWG about disinfecting wipes. https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2015/09/trouble-disinfecting-wipes#.WgHt6BNSyEI
My final tip for hygiene is to stay home and avoid exposing others when you or a family member does get sick. You need the extra rest to aid in your recovery and you don’t need to be expose yourself to additional virus strains with your immune system already working on the current one.
PS: I was required to delete all my posts dealing with essential oils by the company I was associated with. I’ll be writing “compliant” post in the near future. Stay tuned.