Grocery shopping is your mission. The game plan is to get in and out as
quickly as possible before coming into contact with… THE PLAGUE!
That’s right, you are fully aware of the dangers: the flu and bronchitis
are lurking around the corner, after all. Regardless of the danger, you’ve
accepted the mission: purchase a gallon of milk before the family dies
Jokes about catching the plague aside, we all realize that germs are simply
more common in places where people gather. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand washing is one of the best ways to protect you and your family from
getting ill this flu season.
As you may know, running water and soap aren’t always available.
So, using hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes are often what’s
available; but do you actually know how to properly use them? Check out
these tips to help you get the most protection from germs when you aren’t
able to scrub with soap and water:
- Choose a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Remember that hand
sanitizers DO NOT kill all germs and are not as effective when hands are
visibly dirty. Be cautious when using hand sanitizers with children—swallowing
hand sanitizer can be poisonous.
- Apply about a dime sized portion of hand sanitizer to the palm of the hand
(or enough to cleanse the entire hand) and rub hands, fingers and nails
together until the product is COMPLETETLY DRY. Remember—you’ll
re-introduce germs to your hands if you touch something before the sanitizer
is dry and the friction helps to loosen the germs on your hands. Check
the label of your hand sanitizer for additional tips.
When using sanitizing wipes remember to “use it and lose it.”
Dr. William Schaffner Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University
School of Medicine says disinfecting wipes are best used on one surface
and tossed out. So, when you wipe down the handle of your shopping cart,
be sure to grab another one if you plan to use it another place. Although
the wipes will kill bacteria, some of the bacteria remains on the wipe
and can be spread from surface to surface. Best practice is to clean surfaces
with one wipe, and then disinfect with another.
Just like hand sanitizer, the surface cleaned with a sanitizing wipe must
air dry to be effectively disinfected. Most wipe products have a specific
dry time, so it’s best to read the label and follow the instructions.
When the product label is unavailable,at a minimum, allow the surface (like your shopping cart handle) to fully dry before use.
Simple Green calls this drying time “kill time”. Remember-sanitizing wipes
are typically not intended for use on skin.
In addition to covering our coughs and washing our hands, using hand sanitizer
and disinfecting wipes can be one of the best tools to help you and your
family avoid catching the “rhinobronchiastrepalitis of 2019”
or any other illness that plagues us this winter.
Now that you can use them effectively in the battle against germs, you
won’t have to hibernate till spring. Be safe and well out there people!
Check out more tips on how to prevent the flu at
Campbell County Health's
Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee
groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn
more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
Rachel Conrad, PBT, CPT, MA, works at CCH Wellness as a Technician and Phlebotomist