Prevention Is Better Than Cure

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Frequent Hand Washing Can Protect Against Ill

With new diseases only a plane ride away, the U.S. is set to team up with 26 other countries to improve infectious disease monitoring and prevent the spread of pre-existing and emerging diseases. Although less than one-fifth of the world’s countries are adequately prepared to identify and respond to emerging infectious diseases, everyone can take steps to prevent the spread of diseases both within their home countries and in countries further afield.

Most experts believe that infectious diseases, such as influenza, spread through respiratory droplets, which escape when infected individuals cough and sneeze. These droplets typically travel about one meter, and can enter into the noses and mouths of nearby individuals. They can also land on surfaces and objects, such as telephones, remote controls and computer keyboards, where they can live for several hours. When people touch the surfaces on which droplets have landed, they can pick up infectious diseases when they touch their faces, noses or mouths, or rub their eyes, with their unwashed hands.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand washing is the best protection from infectious diseases, yet many Americans fail to wash their hands on a regular basis. Individuals should wash their hands frequently throughout the course of their day, such as before and after meal preparation, before eating, after using the bathroom and before leaving work. They should also wash their hands immediately after coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose and touching animals.

When washing their hands, individuals should wet their hands with warm water and then apply soap. They should vigorously rub their hands together for at least 20 seconds before rinsing their hands thoroughly and drying them with a clean paper towel. If washing their hands in a public restroom, they should turn the faucet off with a paper towel and leave the restroom either by pushing the door with their shoulders or by using another paper towel to turn the door knob. In the event of warm water and soap being unavailable, an alcohol-based sanitizer for hands should serve as a viable alternative to hand washing. However, the sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol in order to prove effective.

While frequent and thorough hand washing prevents people from picking up germs from contaminated surfaces and objects, Cleanint innovations, such as the CleanremoteUV, which removes germs from dirty remotes and phones, the Cleanpen, which cleans dirty pens, and the Cleanstylus, which cleanses dirty tablet styluses, can eradicate infectious agents from the environment. These cleaning aids therefore help to minimize the spread of germs between individuals.

Sources:

http://www.philly.com/philly/health
http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/cold-prevention-hand-washing
http://www.flu.gov/at-risk/travelers/index.html
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org

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