It looks like the ground hog was right and we will have six more weeks of winter, which means that the flue season will continue. It is important to realize that while the H1N1 virus may be transmitted via the air from sneezes and coughing, it is far more likely to be transmitted by hand-to-hand contact.
It is very important to pay attention to how we wash and sanitize our hands. Soaps and sanitizers only work where they touch. Putting it only on your palms isn’t adequate since the majority of germs are hidden under the nail tips, in the groove on the side of the nail, and between the fingers. A sanitizer must cover all these locations, and similar to washing with soap and water, the sanitizer must be rubbed on these areas for 15-20 seconds.
In medical school, they teach doctors to sanitize hands and sing the “happy birthday” song at the same time. That determines the proper speed and length of time to wash. Ironically, most of the hand sanitizers contain provodone iodine, alcohol, or benzalkonium chloride, which dries the skin, so after you sanitize make sure to hydrate your skin with oils or lotions. Keep the containers clean by spraying or rubbing them with alcohol and wiping them with paper towels.
All information is based on the State of Illinois and OSHA regulations, as well as on several articles from Nail Magazine.
Have a happy remaining winter season. Extend the rules above for all the seasons to come and stay healthy all years around.