It's amazing how many people don't know how -- or even when -- to wash their hands. Even the most obvious times seem to elude some people, and I have seen folks use the washroom and then leave without washing their hands. Ewww ... do I really want to touch that doorknob now? The correct way to wash your hands is to count the alphabet from A to Z. Using hot, soapy water, clean the palms and backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and if you can, also underneath your fingernails. When to wash them is -- often. Without venturing over into obsessive compulsive territory, you can never really wash your hands too much, especially when there is a threat of an infectious pandemic. Carry a bottle of Purell with you as well, and use it often. Purell does not clean your hands, but it kills the viruses and bacteria. Only washing your hands will get rid of them.
With colds and influenzas, people are often contagious even before they know they are sick. So we have no way of knowing whom to avoid. It's a good rule of thumb, however, that if someone uses your phone or your keyboard, wipe it off with a disinfectant before you use it. I know that sounds extreme, and perhaps a bit discourteous (do it when they can't see you), but it is a good form of prevention. One of the things we were told in the briefing was to keep our computer mouse and keyboards disinfected, and to wash our hands before and after using them. The keyboards can be disinfected using Clorox Disinfecting wipes. Alcohol apparently failed to kill any microbes.
I'm hoping the H1N1 (swine flu) does not turn into a pandemic, but we do seem to be teetering on the precipice of it. Simple hygiene can do a lot to prevent the spread of it, however. And for goodness sake, if you're sick -- stay home...! Don't be a hero and come in to work or go out to public places. I work with so many people who do that, and first thing I know the
I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,