A: Children and adults alike tend to have a higher incidence of illness in fall and winter. Here are several things that can help lower our risk of exposure to some illnesses. The most obvious and probably most effective way to reduce the risk of illness is good hand-washing. It is more than just running water over your hands for a few seconds. Hands should be washed under warm water with soap for a minimum of 30 seconds. It is important to wash between fingers and under fingernails. Antibacterial soaps are not necessary. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are extremely effective and should be used when hand-washing is not available. While we want our children to share, it is not a good idea to share food and drinks. Many germs are transmitted through oral and nasal secretions. Also, when we sneeze or cough, covering our mouth and nose can significantly reduce the spread of germs. Finally, try to properly clean toys that are shared by several children.
- Dr. Wayne Kelly, Peerless Pediatrics; member, Tennessee
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