It's fall, which means colder days, colored leaves and an increased risk of colds and other illnesses. While most of us can recover after a couple days of rest, common illnesses can take a toll on the elderly and infirm. Illnesses can spread rapidly throughout a patient population even in the best and cleanest of facilities. Take some precautions if you are visiting someone in the hospital or nursing home (which I do frequently):
- Do not visit if you are sick. Do not bring small children to visit if they are sick.
- Wash your hands before going for the visit.
- Use the hand sanitizer at the check-in desk on your way in to prevent carrying germs in, and on your way out to prevent carrying germs out of the facility.
- If you find yourself having to cough, use the crook of your elbow to cover your mouth, not your hand.
- If you sneeze, use a tissue and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands again when you get back home. (Do you see a theme here?)
A few minutes of prevention will go a long way towards protecting you, your loved ones, and the other patients in the facility from the risk of illness.