AmericaNurse News
December, 2002

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As health care professionals, we are always on the lookout for ways to prevent potential illness as well as cures. It has concerned me for years that many places of worship have adopted a handshake to encourage signs of peace and friendship without any limitations or restrictions or education to acknowledge that those who are ill with infectious diseases may be mindlessly and unknowingly passing on germs to others unintentionally. We have all experienced people holding used infected tissues or handkerchiefs and shaking hands with others.  Mothers are often forced to change children and babies in less than positive environment without hand washing facilities available; therefore, if the hands are not washed properly, it may cause the transfer of bacteria, e coli, or bodily waste or fluids which can cause illness.  Some people still choose to drink from the glasses or cans or others or even receive communion from a community chalice which has been wiped only with a napkin after being used by others and not disinfected. Either the chalice or the wine may be contaminated. No one should ever drink from another's glass or a glass or can left uncovered because there have been incidents of insects who are attracted to sweets (such as bees) flying into a can and stinging the throat of the person who drinks out of it. This can be especially dangerous for children.  How do we get these simple suggestions across without offending or upsetting people? A solution may be-If you have a cold or other illness, refrain from extending your hand or kissing anyone; instead smile and explain that you do not wish to pass on your current illness.  Intelligent people will appreciate your efforts and often follow your lead the next time which will help us all and save us from disease.  Another mode of passing on infection are the door handles on public buildings and restaurants, the handles of shopping carts and rest room doors and handles on sinks and hand washing handles-all of which should be handled only with paper towels or disinfectant by you. You may find a spray substance that you can carry with you and take an extra paper towel to open the door with and then dispose of it.  Another suggestion is to keep the lid down on toilets when flushing so the water will not spray and contaminate the air.  We always were taught not to shake the sheets when making beds so that the airborne germs would not surround the room and make others ill.  These are just a few tips and food for thought.  We all want to miss out on the cold and flu season.   There are some great over the counter medications now used for colds-some are only available to health care professionals-however you may get more information on them thru the website or calling our info line at 815-773-4497