Wednesday, November 7, 2007

An Ounce of Prevention

Hello Everyone,

The saying goes... "An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure".

In pharmacy, we spend most of our time providing medications to our patients that focus on curing or making health conditions better.

What we should really focus on is PREVENTION!

We should try to prevent the condition in the first place. Preventative measures are the key. That is going to be one of the focal points of this blog. Many of the diseases and conditions that we face are preventable. Getting proper exercise, eating right, stop smoking, getting immunized, regular health Check-up and Dr. visits, visiting the dentist regularly, age appropriate health screenings and tests (mammograms, colonoscopy), knowing our cholesterol level, wearing our seat belts, etc. are all things that we should do that will contribute greatly to our overall health.

Cough, Cold and Flu season is here. In an earlier post, we talked about flu vaccines and how they can prevent catching the flu. However, one of the easiest ways to prevent catching colds and flu is proper hand washing and personal hygiene.

How should you wash your hands and when should you wash them? Here are some hints and guidelines:

For effective hand washing:

Wet your hands under warm running water.
Apply a small amount of liquid soap.
Cover all surfaces of your hands with soap and water, rubbing vigorously.
Rinse with clean running water.
Dry hands thoroughly, using paper towels or a clean towel.

When should we wash our hands?

Before eating or preparing food
Immediately after handling raw foods, such as poultry
After going to the bathroom or changing a diaper
After contact with blood or body fluids (e.g., after sneezing, coughing, wiping your nose)
After touching animals or their toys and leashes
After touching contaminated or dirty items such as trash cans, cleaning cloths, drains.
Before dressing a wound, giving medicines, or inserting contact lenses
Whenever hands look dirty

Soap and water and proper hand washing facilities are not always available. Carry a small bottle of an alcohol based hand sanitizing gel such as Purell to use as needed. The following link has an interesting article that shows that using sanitizing gels can reduce the spread of stomach illness.

Carry a small package of antiseptic wipes (Purell Hand Wipes) for wiping off items that you come in contact with at the grocery store (shopping cart handles), hotels (Phones, remote controls), airports, parks, shopping malls, public restrooms and other public places.

Here are some additional links with information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

and from Lysol.

The CDC also publishes some good brochures and wall charts on hand washing. Here are those links:

Please note: These publications are available for download only as *.pdf files. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed. Please review the information on downloading and using Acrobat Reader software.

If you have any suggestions for topics of discussion, please let me know.

Thank you for your time,

Dr. Paul

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