Healthier Van Buren – Health is in your hands

By | October 11, 2018 1:12 pm

By Hansel Moore, R.N.

Church is a place where we get to worship and grow in faith. An integral part of many services is sharing greetings with members of your church family. From the “sign of peace” and handshake, to the all out “bless you” hug, we often greet each other with human contact. Fellowship is not forsaken, and there are many years of verified research that conclude human interaction and contact are essential to one’s physical and mental well-being.

There is one often-overlooked consequence of sharing somatic salutations – the spread of bacteria and viruses.   Yep, that fully good intentioned greeting may actually be the launch of unseen invaders against the recipient’s immune system. The brief exchange can be the catalyst for days of being home in bed with the flu. The homebound patient must stay home from school or work and self-quarantine from other members of the household. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms appear, others who live under the same roof also become collaterally infected.

Every church has at least one extremely spirit-filled individual whose personal mission is to shake hands with at least 90 percent of the congregation at every service. While this individual’s compassion for others is commendable, the outcome could be less-than-caring. One person could inadvertently cause a feverish fallout of the faithful.

The flu season is rapidly approaching, as some cases have already been reported in Tennessee.   In the next few weeks, the number of cases will increase as people travel for fall break and return to the area. Some will bring back not only photos, memories, and t-shirts, but they will also bring back a number of invisible organisms that invade and challenge the health of the individual.

Unless one is willing to live in a disinfected bubble, there is no sure-fire way of limiting exposure to illness-causing germs.   There are, however, a few ways of decreasing the chance of becoming ill due to microbes.

-The first and most important is WASH YOUR HANDS. Momma knew what she was talking about when she made us wash up before eating.   Dirty hands touching food that enters the body is the most prominent way that microorganisms enter our body.   While hand sanitizers are somewhat effective, they cannot replace the physical motion of scrubbing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

-Wash surfaces frequently. Contaminated surfaces are an easy way to transfer bacteria. Food prep areas, computer keyboards, phones, door handles, shopping carts, and other commonly shared points of contact should be wiped with disinfectants frequently.

-Limit physical contact. One doesn’t have to become antisocial, but if someone is obviously ill, refrain from the physical greetings.   You may want to consider initiating the increasingly popular “fist bump.”

-Stay home. If you are symptomatic with fever, congestion, aches, or stomach/bowel issues, do not expose others to your sickness. Utilize sick time and get healthy.

 

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