Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

October 8, 2013

Hand washing is key to stay healthy

Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — It’s that time of the year. The daylight hours are getting shorter, the weather is beginning to cool down and people are starting to think about how they can stay healthy during the upcoming cold and flu season.

Angie Ruther, Franklin County Health Department public health nurse, recommends getting a flu shot, and “good hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of viruses.

“Cover your cough or sneeze, throw your tissues away and try not to come in contact with someone who is sick.”

Dr. David Welsh, Ripley County health officer, agrees. “If someone is coughing or clearly has respiratory issues, I like the three-feet rule (staying at least that far away from him or her). Whether you’re at work, going through an airport or going to a social function .... It’s not the time to be shaking hands.

“The younger kids who do the fist punch may have something .... We may need to follow their lead” and greet people that way.

“You should follow what your mother and grandmother said: “‘Get plenty of rest and eat your fruits and vegetables.’”

He also emphasizes the importance of getting a flu shot. “We always hear on the news when there’s a major outbreak, but the truth is, every year people actually die from the flu. Make sure you get your shot and the folks you care about get one, too .... If we get a large amount of people vaccinated, we have what we call herd immunity, which actually decreases the spread of the virus in our communities.”

Germs can hide anywhere. Some common places in the home are the bathroom and kitchen counters, door knobs and faucets, Ruther points out. That’s why it’s so important for individuals to wash their hands regularly.

It takes good hygiene to prevent the spread of viruses, Welsh maintains. Once again, “remember what Grandma and Mom always did. If there was a sick member of the family, they always did extra cleaning, and the house was spick-and-span.”

For those who do get sick, “stay home if you can,” Ruther announces.

Welsh adds, “It’s not time to be heading to the neighbor’s party .... If you’re not feeling well and you go to the doctor, remember to do what the doctor says. Many times people don’t finish their prescriptions, which may be prescribed for a week. After four days, you may be feeling better, so you stop taking it, but you never quite get over” the sickness.

“Follow the doctor’s instructions, but if the medicine doesn’t respond the way the physician thought it would or what you expected it to do, let the physician know because maybe you have an immunity to it or something else needs to be prescribed.”

In addition, “do your own health care reform. When you go to the doctor or emergency room, be prepared by knowing what medicines you take and what questions you want to ask so you don’t forget anything.”

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.