This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.
‘Tis the season for colds, the flu, strep throat and everything in between. It’s almost impossible to keep our kids (and ourselves) healthy, so we asked Dr. Bradley Adler from Scarsdale Medical Group how we can do our best to avoid getting and spreading germs.
How can we avoid contact with germs?
“Without a doubt, hand washing is the best way to avoid germs,” says Dr. Adler. Patients always ask him why he doesn’t get sick and he credits hand washing before and after every patient contact, using a quick alcohol based disinfectant, if necessary. Your risk of germ exposure is decreased significantly when you wash your hands after contact (a handshake, for example) and take care not to touch your own face or mouth after you’ve touched shared objects such as keyboards and doorknobs.
Dr. Adler adds that our own homes pose one of the biggest risks to getting germs because we let our guard down around family. “That’s where everyone makes mistakes,” he says. Our kids carry the most germs from their contact with others at school. “It is so important to teach kids to wash when they get home and after playing before dinner, especially when they have illnesses themselves.” But how can you stop a sick, sweet child from kissing and snuggling you? “Good luck to us all on that one,” says Dr. Adler.
Technique is important when it comes to hand washing. Dr. Adler recommends clasping fingers together to get web spaces and to wash for at least 20 seconds. A good tip for kids is to sing the whole Happy Birthday song while washing.
Does hand sanitizer work?
In a pinch, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are all pretty good, according to Dr. Adler. They have been proven to kill both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms as well as some viral pathogens, including influenza virus. “Carrying a portable hand sanitizer is worth it for those times when we don’t have access to a sink,” says Dr. Adler.
If you’re sick, you can prevent spreading germs.
When it comes to being sick, Dr. Adler suggests coughing into your armpit to keep germs to yourself and minimize their spread. Try to avoid coughing in your hands, but if you do, wash your hands immediately afterwards.
What’s the best way to boost immunity?
There haven’t been any vitamins or supplements that have proven efficacious at boosting the immune system in any significant way. Dr. Adler believes, however, that “our immune system is weakened by sleep deprivation and stress, physical and emotional. Work and family stressors and sleep deprivation definitely weaken our bodies and play a role in our physical health.” So the best way to boost immunity is to get as much rest as you can.
Bradley K. Adler, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine and has been in private practice since 2002. He is open-minded and passionate about the medical care he provides, enjoys educating his patients about their illnesses, and motivates them to live a healthy life style. He is intent on creating a friendly, relaxed doctor-patient experience.
The provision of high-quality, personalized health care to Westchester County and New York’s Hudson Valley region has been the mission of Scarsdale Medical Group since 1957. Their working philosophy of compassion, confidence, and commitment has enabled them to become known and respected by patients and peers throughout the tri-state area.