Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Quickest, cheapest way to beat creeping super flu

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A simple, inexpensive procedure can cut your chance of catching the virulent super flu finding its way across the United States. Doctors say: Wash your hands. That's it. For 20 seconds at a time. Make it a regular habit, and your chance of picking up the flu rapidly dwindles.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Centers for Disease Control calls this habit the single most important way to avoid spreading infection.

Frequent hand washing with soap and water can help you avoid medical bills, missed workdays or having to stay home with a sick child. You'll also protect your loved ones: A CDC survey found that 40 million Americans a year fall prey to illnesses spread by hands, which can harbor up to 500,000 bacteria per square centimeter.

Washing your hands not only prevents you from contracting the cold and flu: it also prevents the inroads made by many other infectious diseases. Hepatitis A, meningitis and potentially life-threatening superbug infections, such as MRSA can be stopped by frequently washing your hands. Eighty percent of all infectious diseases are spread by touch.

Medical authorities have learned these important steps about hand washing:

-- Kids who washed their hands four times a day had 25 percent fewer school absences due to contagious diseases and 57 percent fewer sick days due to GI bugs.
 
-- When 40,000 Navy recruits were instructed to wash their hands five times a day, their rate of respiratory infections fell by 45 percent.

-- A 2011 study found that when students disinfected their hands three times a day with ethanol gel sanitizer, there was a 66 percent drop in pupils who missed four or more days due to illness and a 20 percent rise in students with zero absences, compared to data from the previous year.

-- Hand washing reduces risk for colds and other respiratory illnesses by 21 percent, according to the CDC.

-- Not only that, but washing with soap and water lowers risk for diarrhea and severe or fatal intestinal infections by up to 59 percent, a systematic review published in Lancet reported.

Here's something a little queasy: 91 percent of Americans say they wash their hands after using a public toilet, but an observational study conducted in the six US airports found that only 26 percent of men and 17 percent of women actually did. A recent survey also found that only 24 percent of men and 39 percent of women always wash their hands after they cough or sneeze.

Most alarmingly -- hand hygiene among doctors is even worse! While 73 percent of pediatric ICU physicians claiming they cleaned their hands between patients, but when the MDs were secretly observed, only 10 percent actually washed. If doctors and nurses were more diligent about hand hygiene, up to 80,000 Americans lives would be saved each year.

Experts caution patients to ask healthcare providers a simple question before any hands-on exam: "Did you wash your hands?" That's important even if the provider is wearing gloves.

Effective hand washing includes the practice being done before and after preparing food, before eating, after changing diapers or using the toilet, after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose, after touching an animal and after touching garbage.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)