Avoid Giving or Getting an Infection

Written by Dr. Lee CARD Clinic

Sharing is caring…but not always. With the potential for Colds, Flu, and even Coronavirus out there, special attention to detail can help prevent you or someone else from getting sick. Here are some good habits to practice.

  • Most important with any infection is good, frequent handwashing – scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Use a paper towel to turn off the spigot and open the door afterwards. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used if you can’t wash. Avoid touching your face in between hand washings just in case your hands do become contaminated. Viruses don’t penetrate intact skin. They usually get in through the less protected mucous membranes such as those in the eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash after using the bathroom, before eating, after sneezing or coughing onto your hand, or after contact with a possibly contaminated surface.
  • Avoid shaking hands and hugging or kissing outside your immediate family – a friendly smile and nod is enough to let someone know you are glad to see them. Think about having a three-foot bubble of protection around yourself.
  • Avoid large public gatherings where people are in close proximity, especially if you are diabetic, have underlying lung disease, or are immunocompromised by cancer treatments or other medications. These can include stores, malls, community events, church services, family reunions, and sporting events, to name a few.
  • Use a disinfectant spray or wipe at home and work to regularly clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, cabinet tops, appliance handles, car doors, steering wheels, toilets, and bathroom surfaces. This is even more important if you have kids around.
  • If you are feeling sick, do not go to work or out in public unless absolutely necessary. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, use your elbow, not your hand.
  • Call your clinic or doctor’s office before coming in if you feel sick. If it is determined that you need a visit, this helps them prepare and decrease the risk for others who are there at the same time. You may be asked to wear a mask in the office if you are sick. This also helps limit spread of disease to others, but wearing a mask when you are well is not particularly effective and not recommended.
  • Avoid areas known to have substantial cases of contagious disease. Most pertinent to us right now, that includes the Greater Seattle area in Washington State.

Be kind to your neighbors and hopefully they will be kind to you. It takes a community to prevent infection.