The recent staph infection scare hits pretty close to home for me because this happened to our family. A few years ago, one of my cousin’s very healthy children was admitted to the hospital for a routine procedure, had his surgery on Thursday, and three days later he was dead from the staph infection he had picked up in the hospital. So I guess it’s understandable that the recent news stories about staph infections concern me. Health officials say the average person has up to ten million bacteria on each hand at any given time and advise hand washing as one of the best means of protecting against staph and other bacteria. They also say that people are not washing their hands as often or as well as they should.
Here’s some advice from the Mayo Clinic:
Help children stay healthy by encouraging them to wash their hands frequently. Wash your hands with your child to show him or her how it’s done. To prevent rushing, suggest washing hands for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. If your child can’t reach the sink on his or her own, keep a step stool handy.
The alcohol-based hand sanitizers do a good job of killing bacteria too but shouldn’t be used as an alternative to soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. Again, advice from the Mayo Clinic:
Follow these steps:
- Apply enough of the product to the palm of your hand to wet your hands completely.
- Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces, until your hands are dry.
I think I’ll stick with soap and water.