Dr. Bailey shares his article with fellow practitioners as helpful advise to patients.

Simple Lesson in Hygiene - Help Reduce Risk from Germs

By Dr. Richard Bailey, MD

Someone coughs or sneezes in the classroom. Millions of germs become airborne. You may breathe them or they may settle on the objects around you. When you touch those objects and then touch your nose with your infected hands, you may have started the process of becoming sick. This is a daily threat to students, teachers and the families they go home to.

It's no secret to parents that their children can bring germs from school. A cough or a sneeze can spread many feet in the confined space of a classroom. It seems like once one child gets sick many others follow. This is no illusion. Infections spread due to the proximity of classmates in crowded environments and the subsequent prevalence of objects on which germs are deposited. Many germs ca be picked up on your hands and then transmitted your nose, eyes or mouth by touching them. Hot spots for germ deposits are bathrooms, desks, doors, the computer keyboard, the mouse and the like. Even the pencil one student shares with another.

According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among students in kindergarten through 12th grade at public schools, the transmission of communicable diseases  is responsible for more than 164 million lost school days per year.

In my practice as an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, I often advise my patients on steps they can take to help stay healthy. Good personal hygiene is the key. The term "hygiene" is derived from Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation. Hygiene is also a science that deals with the promotion and preservation of health. The 8 Habits of Good Hygiene listed below contains key proactive steps with the school and home environment in mind but are excellent habits for everyone from travelers to office workers. The list includes advice from infectious disease specialists, the Centers of Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) the World Health Organization (www.who.int) and other insights that could help reduce the risk of infection. In particular, I am a strong advocate of nasal hygiene. Products that can help maintain a clean nose such as saline nasal sprays and neti pots can be very effective in keeping your sinuses healthy. I am also recommending a nasal swab product called Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic (www.nozin.com) for it's ability to fight germs at the nose, a chief entry point for germs into the body and the portal to your respiratory system.

Of course, where possible, those who are sick should stay home to avoid spreading germs, try to use paper towels before touching anything and teach your kids to cover coughs, sneeze properly (it's better to sneeze into your arm than your hands to cut down on spreading germs by touch) or even to wear a facemask. These steps are good advice but can be very hard to follow. The following 8 steps tend to be more practical and can help greatly in reducing risk.

  1. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, with plenty of soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Use hand sanitizers. It’s not always convenient to wash you hands, so alcohol based sanitizers can help fill the gaps when you are away from the sink. You can use sanitizers or alcohol wipes in the classroom at your seat.
  3. Refrain from touching your eyes, mouth and especially your nose. The nose is the chief site of infection by germs that cause colds, flu, strep and other disease.
  4. Be careful of re-infection. Washing and using hand sanitizers can get rid of most the germs that already exist on your hands, but these methods are only effective for a period of seconds. Your hands can easily be re-infected as soon as they come in contact with new germs. Then, if you touch your nose, the germs can enter your body.
  5. To help reduce your risk of infection, consider using nasal hygiene products. These include saline sprays, neti pots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_pot), which help clean nasal passages with a saline wash, and Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic (www.nozin.com) which can help fight germs at the nose where germs often try to infect.
  6. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  7. Maintain your general health through exercise, plenty of rest and good nutrition.
  8. Spread the word to help stop the spread of germs. Share this lesson in hygiene with friends, family and classmates. You want as many people to know about this advice as possible. If you’re lucky, the whole class will learn and practice these healthy habits.

© 2004-2024 Global Life Technologies Corp. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners. Nozin® Nasal Sanitizer® antiseptic is an OTC topical antiseptic drug and no claim is made that it has an effect on any specific disease. | Patent Nos.