Nursing, Uncategorized
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Wash your hands

Here is the CDC video on Swine Flu

In a nutshell, swine flu or pig flu is very similar to human flu.  Originally, people who were around infected pigs caught it but it can be passed from human to human.  Just like the regular flu, it can be mild or very serious.  It is being advised that employers encourage their employees to stay home if they are having flu-like symptoms to stop the spread.  Obama is encouraging schools to close for confirmed or suspected cases of wine flu.  The NY Times said a toddler (from Mexico) died in TX today from swine flu.  article here:


You can track the number of cases worlwide here:

It is even more important now to wash our hands. 

The BEST way to prevent infections is to wash your hands.  It is hard to believe but there are still people out there who do not cover their mouth when they sneeze or cough.  I have had patients cough right in my face!  People don’t wash their hands after they cough into them either (or after they blow their nose) so think about it when you are sharing a keyboard or a telephone with someone or in any public space. 

The right way to wash your hands (First thing you learn in nursing school):

Turn the faucet on. Not too hot.  Not too cold.

Get your hands good and soapy.

Friction, friction, friction- get in between your fingers and around your rings- rub for 20 seconds (or sing the Happy Birthday song)

If in public, grab the paper towel and dry off.

Shut the faucet off with the paper towel.

(In nursing school they used this stuff that showed up under a blacklight on us.  The areas most missed were the fingernails and around rings and then in between the fingers)

This may sound so simple but here are some times to think about washing your hands:

1. Definitely before you put anything into your mouth

2. After you have sneezed or coughed into your hand.

3. After you have blown your nose. (please don’t reuse the kleenex or set it down- it goes right into the garbage)

4. Before cooking.

5. After using the restroom. (tip: In public bathroom, use the paper towel to turn the faucet off and don’t touch the door handle if you can help it)

6. After shopping. (I keep hand sanitizer in my purse and everyone gets a squirt after shopping. 

7. Before putting your contacts in or touching your eyes. (I have allergies so this is a hard one for me when my eyes itch but I do make an extra effort not to touch them when I am at work).

8. If you have touched anything suspicious.  LOL

9. Before and after caring for someone who is sick.

10. Before and after caring for a wound.

Wash your fruit and veggies too. 



Other infections:

And if you are hospitalized or know of someone who is, please make sure all of the health care personnel are washing their hands. 

Hospital acquired infections are a real problem and can be life threatening.  Even if you come in with something that is not normally life threatening- a hospital acquired infection can kill you.  Many hospitals even post signs that say” STOP! Before you touch me, please wash your hands!”  which they post above patient beds or on their doors.  If there’s not one there- make your own!  It’s ok to do that! 

Many types of  infection can be prevented with hand-washing like this one that causes UTI’s, wound infections (chronic and/or surgical) and can get into the blood stream making one very ill: 

“Enterococci are regular inhabitants of the bowel. The genome of E. faecalisis more than 25% exogenously acquired DNA. Enterococci are the leading cause of hospital-acquired secondary infections.

Enterococci have been described as extremely hardy organisms capable of living in many mediums that would certainly kill other bacteria. They normally inhabit the bowels of animals, humans included, but they are found in soil, vegetation, and surface water, probably due to contamination by animal excrement. Enterococci are capable of growing at a range of temperatures from 10-45 degrees Celsius, and can grow in hypotonic, hypertonic, acidic, or alkaline environments. As facultative anaerobes, enterococci can grow under reduced or oxygenated conditions. They are also capable of survival at 60 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Enterocoocus faecalisis able to grow in 6.5% NaCl. Enterococci can also grow in 40% bile salts and over a broad range of pH. Enterococci also have a large amount of natural antibiotic resistance.”   from this source: 

Interesting and gross fact:

A physician once told me (this was about 6 or 7 years ago) that he had recently (at the time) read a study that showed the average person indirectly touches at least 6 penises a day!  How can that be?  Well, still today many men do not wash their hands after using the restroom.  Then they put their hands on the table, or grab the phone- and you touch it right after them.  I recently mentioned this to my dental hygienist and she said she wasn’t that surprised because their bathroom is situated in a spot where the receptionist can hear if the faucet is used.  Sure enough, she said at least half the men don’t even turn the faucet on (that means not even a quick little rinsey).   I already knew it was true from being a nurse anyhow.  There’s lot of women who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom too. 

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