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Stay on Guard Against Germs
Written By : Stephanie Roberts 
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As you get older, your body’s natural defense system begins to weaken against diseases. To protect your health, you need to increase your efforts to keep germs away and if you currently have a caregiver that person needs to help in this fight.

The most important defense we have is simple – hand washing. This one habit can substantially reduce the risk of illness and should be done several times a day. Every time you touch a door handle, cash or type on a keyboard you have the potential to transfer germs from those surfaces to yourself. This happens when you touch virtually anything and then wipe your mouth or touch your face so to reduce this risk it’s essential to wash your hands with soap for at least 15 to 20 seconds. This should also be done after using the restroom or handling food.

Cold and flu season is also a time you should be more careful. Be sure to cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough to prevent spreading any germs. And be diligent in washing your hands or using hand sanitizer during these seasons.

Even when wearing gloves you should exercise caution. Gloves do not provide an absolute barrier against germs, so it’s best to get in the habit of washing your hands when you need to. This should also be done by any caregiver you may have. If they happen to wear gloves for part of your service, you need to make sure they still wash their hands when providing care to you.

Seniors should also be on guard against skin infections. While you don’t have to take a bath or shower every day, make sure you do so often enough to prevent a skin infection. Also, using skin moisturizer to keep you skin from getting too dry is important for skin health.

To prevent germs from spreading it's also important to clean commonly used surfaces. Most people know to clean kitchen counters, tables, and bathroom surfaces, but don't forget about door knobs and kitchen appliance handles. And some of our electronic devices are the worst carriers of germs so be sure to use sanitizing wipes on cell phones, TV remote controls and computer keyboard and mouse.

Cleaning the inside of your refrigerator also helps. You don’t want your food residing alongside bacteria that may grow if not cleaned often enough. And while you can’t stop all germs from existing, taking the above steps certainly helps in our fight against infection and diseases. Lastly, make sure if you can’t do these steps yourself that you ask for help. A family member or caregiver should be able to do cleaning for you and help wash when necessary.

Copyright © 2011 Stephanie Roberts,

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