Capitol Connection: Five Healthy Habits

January 14, 2014

During the past few days my home was overrun with coughing, sneezing and a plethora of germs. Cold and flu season is definitely upon us, which makes it the perfect time to review best practices to avoid those nasty winter bugs.

Healthy habit number one is always wash your hands. Wash them often and always before you eat, when you go to the bathroom or after you come into contact with a sick person. To kill the most germs, the CDC recommends following these hand-washing steps:

  • Wet your hands with warm or cold water, turn off the tap and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. To time yourself, you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Rinse your hands.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If you cannot wash your hands, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, but these are not as effective in killing germs.

Healthy habit number two is keep your hands clean after you wash them. Try not to touch things that others frequently touch. When you leave the bathroom, use a paper towel to open the handle of the door so that your freshly washed hands stay clean.

Healthy habit number three is avoid touching your face. People often touch their face without realizing it, and the eyes, nose and mouth are all direct paths into our bodies for germs.

Healthy habit number four is clean everything you can. Wipe down shared desks at work with disinfectant wipes. Bring those wipes with you to the supermarket to clean the handle of your shopping cart. Disinfect whenever and wherever you can.

Finally, healthy habit number five is take care of yourself. Be physically active, get enough sleep, stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet. If you are in good health it will be easier to fight off germs you come into contact with.

When you are sick, be courteous and keep the germs to yourself. If you can, stay home from work and school and do not run errands. If you sneeze or cough in public, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, throw out the tissue and wash your hands immediately.

This time of year the cold weather may be making us feel sick, but some things are warming up – like the economy. Next week, I will talk more about Connecticut’s economic momentum. Here’s to your health, and the health of our finances. Stay well!