Viruses jump at chance when you let guard down

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This is the time of year when I am always reminded of how easy viruses are passed around.

Within a few weeks of school starting, my kids invariably will start coughing or sneezing. They usually manage to pass it right along to me as well.

As a practicing physician, I am not immune to getting ill. Before my children started school I would catch a cold maybe once or twice a year.

The year my oldest started kindergarten I think I was ill every other week. I have found that I do not typically catch things from my patients due to washing before and after every examination.

It is at home that the bugs are shared. It is at school where they are passed around and then sent home.

I have noticed the recent emphasis in schools to encourage hand washing and they are to be commended for their efforts.

It is my hope that we can all improve our hand washing and thus limit illness this cold and flu season.

Here is a set of guidelines on cleaning up from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

What is the right way to wash your hands?

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.

Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.

When should you wash your hands?

Before, during, and after preparing food.

Before eating food.

Before and after caring for someone who is sick.

Before and after treating a cut or wound.

After using the toilet.

After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.

After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

After touching an animal or animal waste.

After touching garbage.

Dr. Christoper Jenkins practices at Family Medical Center, 1120 W. Rose St.

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