Jeju is one of the warmest places in Korea (according to the statistics), but there are many residents who would disagree. Especially in the winter time when the temperature can drop to below zero (Celsius), with wind, the chill factor makes it seem much lower.
In my clinic, the number of patients complaining about rhinorrhea or cough, fever, or myalgia has increased exponentially and people regularly come in for medication and symptom relief. So, I think it is high time to reveal a secret, that most of you may know, on how to prevent the common cold — and a lot of other infectious disease.
It is none other than... washing your hands.
Up to 70 to 80 percent of common colds can be prevented by proper washing of the hands. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent many infections and illnesses from spreading. Although, from a clinical point of view, using an alcohol scrub (alcohol-based hand-rub) does a better job, soap still is one of the most effective and easy ways to practice hand hygiene.
Transmission of germs have common scenarios, many of them involving the hand. Fecal, oral transmitting diseases, diseases that spread through respiratory secretions, urine or saliva, are often due to poor hand hygiene. Almost all the diseases are spread by pathogenic microbes and washing hands rids them from us. Though not a 100 percent success rate, it is your best and simplest tool against diseases and ailments.
Hand washing was first emphasized by Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis, the pioneer of antiseptic procedures. He observed that when obstetric doctors washed their hands before procedures, the overall mortality rate decreased by 1/10th of what it was normally. Although his instructions did not become common practice during his time, his findings are now widely accepted.
So it is my humble duty and honor to tell you... how to wash your hands... properly.
1. Wet your hands with running water. 2. Apply enough (liquid) soap on the hands and make a soapy lather by rubbing them gently together. (Block soaps may be less effective). 3. Rub hands palm to palm. 4. Rub one palm over the back of the other hand with interlaced fingers. 5. Palm to palm fingers interlaced. 6. Palms with fingers interlocked and cleaning the under-surface of the nails 7. Rotational rubbing of thumb. 8. Rubbing back and forwards with clasped fingers.
So, when do we wash our hands? This question would be answered differently, depending on the activities and the daily chores. But, often, it is wise to follow the recommendations that are given below.
1. Before and after eating. 2. After using the washroom. 3. Before and after cooking. 4. After touching infants and children, pets, and animals. 5. After coming in contact with a sick person or after a trip to the hospital. 6. After touching garbage of any kind. 7. Last but not the least, after sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing.
Please, (from) this winter season, make it a daily routine to “correctly” and “thoroughly” wash your hands.
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