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Ghouls, Goblins, and Germs

30 Oct 2009 10:11 PM | Working Women (Administrator)

cartoon_ghost_copy_zcth.jpgThis year, Halloween festivities are tainted by the ghastly pallor of something truly frightening lurking in the shadows: a deadly pandemic flu.  But don’t let this very scary threat spoil your fun.  With a little bit of extra precaution, you can safely celebrate the day of the dead without you yourself becoming a casualty.

It is not necessary to trade in your monster mask for a surgical mask, although I suspect doctor costumes will be a very popular choice this year.  The Centers for Disease Control  gives some good practical advice:  if you are very ill, running a fever, or have a bad cough, you should stay home!  You might miss out on the party this year, but you will be preventing others from sharing in your misery. 

The CDC even has a special page dedicated to Halloween germ safety.  There they have information about how to protect yourself from both the H1N1 virus as well as the standard seasonal flu.  You can even send animated “Don’t Be Afraid of Halloween” e-cards to your friends and relatives that include germ safety tips.  One way you can help prevent the spread of germs this holiday is to place candy directly into the bags of eager trick-or-treaters, instead of letting them grab from your candy bowl.

The most potent protection against any type of flu is to get vaccinated.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and if you must scratch or rub your face, using your knuckle rather than your fingertip is a more sanitary option.  Wash your hands with soap and hot water as often as possible throughout your day.  Avoid sharing utensils and cups.  In addition, the CDC suggests that you avoid kissing, if at all possible. 

            Remember that hand sanitizer is not necessarily for the purpose of protecting yourself from germs.  Using it will protect others from picking up any germs you may be spreading.  If you cough or sneeze into your hands, do sanitize them before you touch anything.  Consider it a part of your daily commitment to social responsibility.

All sanitizers are not created equal: make sure you read the label.  Select one that uses alcohol rather than triclosan as its active ingredient.  Only alcohol (or bleach) will kill the flu virus.  My personal preference is alcohol wipes, because they come in convenient individually wrapped packets that fit easily into even the smallest purse or pocket.  I have also noticed that many pharmacies now offer alcohol based hand sanitizer in a variety of pleasing scents.  You can also usually find a soothing lavender scented hand sanitizer in the baby care aisle. 

Even though the old tradition of bobbing for apples may now be a thing of the past, many Halloween traditions still live on.  If you are thinking about giving out bottles of hand sanitizer this year instead of candy, you can expect to fall victim to another time honored tradition: egging. 

You can connect with Megan Daniel on Facebook.

 

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