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Hand hygiene is a simple yet powerful practice that can protect us and our loved ones from harmful germs. Did you know there’s a right way to do it that takes just about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” when using soap and water? Let's explore the art of hand hygiene and understand why it's crucial for our health.
Be Hands-on About Being Healthy
Taking charge of our well-being starts with the basics, and hand hygiene is a fundamental step that can make a big difference. So, let's roll up our sleeves and follow these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Using Soap and Water
- Use clean running water and soap. When possible, use warm water.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds while you hum your favorite tune or stick to the classic "Happy Birthday." This ensures a thorough cleanse.
- Remember to scrub between your fingers, the backs of your hands, your wrists, and under your fingernails.
- Once your hands are sparkling clean, choose a paper towel or an air dryer to thoroughly dry them.
- Keep your hands clean by turning off the faucet with a paper towel if one is available.
Using Alcohol-based Hand Rub/Sanitizer
Sometimes we find ourselves without access to soap and water. Be sure to rub the gel/foam sanitizer all over your hands and keep rubbing them until they are dry.
Become Your Own Health Advocate
Let's embrace the role of advocates for our health by prioritizing proper hand hygiene. Remember, the power to protect our health is in our hands - both figuratively and literally! Together, let's lead by example and inspire others to embrace the power of clean hands.
Kaiser Permanente celebrated its sixth year as official health partner of Special Olympics Southern California at the 2023 Summer Games.
Managing diabetes can sometimes feel overwhelming, but with the right approach and lifestyle choices, you can stay in control and lead a fulfilling life. Here are 8 tips to help you effectively manage diabetes and maintain your overall well-being:
It's not about your diabetes — it's about your life. Take a step back and reflect on what you love to do. Identify any obstacles that diabetes poses to those activities and find practical solutions. Creating an action plan can significantly assist you in overcoming these challenges.
It's not just about blood sugar. Heart disease and stroke are the big killers for people with diabetes. Here's how to lower your chances:
- If you use tobacco, quit.
- Keep your blood pressure below 130/80.
- Ask your doctor about taking a statin drug. These can be helpful even if you don’t have high cholesterol.
- Ask your doctor about ACE-inhibitors.
- Talk to your doctor about whether daily aspirin is right for you.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices.
Stress makes everything worse. Stress can get in the way of taking care of yourself and managing your diabetes. Identify the sources of stress in your life and develop strategies to reduce or cope with them. Make it a point to schedule enjoyable activities for yourself regularly.
Physical activity helps make everything better. Engaging in regular physical activity provides numerous benefits, such as increased energy, stress reduction, improved relaxation, and better sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, and try to make it enjoyable rather than a chore.
Don't diet — make healthier food choices. Instead of focusing on restrictive diets, adopt a long-term approach to eating healthier. Rather than labeling foods as "good" or "bad," consider their impact on your overall health. Embrace a diverse range of foods to ensure you're getting essential nutrients, and explore portion control to manage blood sugar levels and weight. Consult a dietitian to develop a personalized meal plan that suits your needs.
Be smart and use your "flashlight". Your blood sugar monitor helps you see in the dark, like a flashlight. Regularly check your blood sugar levels to gain insights into your body's response to various situations, such as waking up, eating meals, exercising, or when you feel unusual symptoms.
Get regular checkups. Keeping regular appointments with your doctor and getting tests and screenings on time helps you be an active partner with your health care team.
- Know what questions to ask.
- Write them down ahead of time.
- Let your doctor know at the beginning of each visit what specific things you want to talk about.
- Review this checklist before your appointment with your personal doctor.
Write down your care plan. Work with your doctor to design a diabetes care plan that's right for you. Include information about the medications you're taking, their purpose, daily targets for blood sugar levels, goals you wish to achieve, and emergency contacts for support.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Knowing the health risks and signs can help you prevent, identify, and reduce the effects of a stroke.
What are some of the key symptoms of a stroke?
Symptoms of a stroke appear abruptly and without warning. A stroke may cause sudden weakness or numbness, trouble with vision or speaking, confusion, or a severe headache. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, even if they go away quickly, you should call 911 immediately.
What are the BE FAST stroke warning signs?
BE FAST is a simple way to remember the main symptoms and things you should do during a stroke.
- Balance - Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination?
- Eyes - Is the person experiencing suddenly blurred or double vision or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes?
- Face drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- Arm weakness - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech - Is speech slurred, they are unable to speak, or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, "The sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
What are some healthy lifestyle changes that may lower your risk of a stroke?
Strokes are the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. — but they’re often preventable. To reduce your risk of a stroke, you can:
- Work with your doctor to manage any health problems you may have, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Don’t smoke. If you need help quitting, talk with your doctor.
- Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day.
- Get active. Aim for 30 minutes per day — walking is a good choice.
- Eat healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lean meat, fish, and whole grains.
Mental and emotional wellness are important parts of your total health. With rates of reported mental conditions on the rise, it’s important to take care of your mind as well as your body. That means living a healthy lifestyle, paying attention to how you feel, and doing simple things to improve your well-being. If you or a loved one needs help, start with these tips below:
Speak up if you’re struggling. Be honest with the people in your life about how you’re feeling. They can’t help unless they know you need their support.
Talk to your doctor. They can connect you with support and help you access care for depression, anxiety, addiction and recovery, and more — without a referral.
Seek treatment. Help is available and effective. If you don’t know where to start, talk to your care team and let them connect you to the support you need.
Mental health and wellness resources:
- Mental health content center with information about accessing care and more
- Addiction care content center with information about accessing care and more
- Depression, stress, alcohol, drug, and predict teen use assessments for early intervention
- Health classes and support groups
- Personalized healthy lifestyle programs
- Wellness coaching by phone for stress and sleep
- Most prescriptions mailed to your door (requires sign-on)
- Self-care apps for meditation, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy
- Self-care resources to help manage depression, reduce stress, improve sleep, and more
- Find Your Words resilience and community mental health support resources
For mental health care appointments, call 1-833-KP-WITH-U (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.)