What Can We Do to Help Prevent Infections?

Scientists have spent countless hours over the past decades researching the whys, hows and whats of infectious diseases. Although all the answers are yet to be found, what is known with surety is that the best way to help prevent infections is to block the infectious microbes from entering the body. Entry points are all the body’s openings, and most often, through the nose and mouth.

Personal hygiene habits are a big part of helping to prevent infections. Parents tell their kids to wash their hands before each meal. Washing hands to help prevent infections requires even more vigilance. To help prevent infections, wash hands often throughout the day, when you return home from work, after shopping, after using the bathroom and in between preparing different types of food. And if you can’t wash your hands, hand sanitizer is second best.

Helping children learn good personal hygiene habits is important, as many times, they are the ones that spread infections. Teach them to cover their mouths and noses when they sneeze or cough. Explain why they should not pick at healing wounds, blemishes or pimples, as that only helps spread infections.1 Be a good role model and have tissues and bandages readily available. Be aware of any cuts on yourself, your children and your pets, and make sure they’re washed and cleaned before bandaging. And always see a medical practitioner if it’s something you can’t take care of easily.

In a family circle, it’s common to share just about everything. But to help prevent infections, don’t share dishes, glasses or eating utensils. That way you won’t be sharing as many germs. And, definitely don’t share napkins, tissues, handkerchiefs or other such items.

Many infections are the result of eating something unclean. Most cases of food-borne infection are not life-threatening, but they can certainly lead to severe discomfort or more complicated medical conditions. Help prevent infections by preparing and storing foods safely:

• Rinse meats, fruits and vegetables thoroughly before preparing, cooking and serving.

• Wash your own hands with soap and water before and after handling meats.

• Separate raw food from cooked food and wash cutting boards and other surfaces in between uses.

• Defrost foods in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.

• Store leftovers in airtight containers and refrigerate perishable foods within two hours.

Ironically, many infections are actually picked up when you spend time under treatment at a hospital or other health facility. These healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are a significant source of medical complications.2 HAIs are associated with surgery, medical devices, catheters and ventilators. Research has shown that some healthcare workers may clean their hands less than half the time they should,3 so you need to advocate for yourself and make sure they are wearing gloves before they touch you.

Since social distancing is advised at this time, we are already living differently than we used to in order to help prevent infections. When out and about, be sure to wear a face mask, such as Kenko® Face Mask. In addition to practicing Active Wellness, also remember that when not at a medical facility, avoid direct contact with anyone who is ill and try not to touch any surfaces they’ve touched. Avoidance is especially important for people with compromised immune systems or underlying conditions such as type 2 diabetes, any type of cardiovascular issue, asthma, etc. Use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer helps not only to clean your hands but also soothes them.

1 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-prevent-infections

2,3 https://afmc.org/afmc-healthspot/9-best-ways-prevent-infections/

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