Browsed by
Category: Postpartum Depression

To Stay Healthy this Fall and Winter? Wash Your Hands! The Simplest Way

To Stay Healthy this Fall and Winter? Wash Your Hands! The Simplest Way

As summer turns to fall, lots of people (children and adults alike) will be spending more time inside and in closer proximity to one-another. Washing your hands is something simple we can all do to keep our schools, workplaces and homes just a little bit healthier. In fact, it’s actually been identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

But researchers at Michigan State University recently found that only about 1 person in 20 actually washes his or her hands properly in even the most obvious hand washing scenario—after using a public restroom. According to a summary by writer Lindsay Abrams of the Atlantic:

“Of 3,749 people observed leaving the bathrooms, 66.9 percent used soap, while 10.3 percent didn’t wash their hands at all. The other 23 percent of people stopped at wetting their hands, in what the researchers, for some reason, call “attempted washing” (as if maybe those people just weren’t sure how to follow through). Although the researchers generously counted the combined time spent washing, rubbing, and rinsing, only 5.3 percent of people spent 15 seconds or longer doing so, thus fulfilling the requirements of proper handwashing. They average time spent was 6 seconds.

Why Hand Washing?

Bacterial and viral infections can be spread when the hands come into contact with infectious respiratory secretions and carry them elsewhere. This happens most often as a result of someone coughing, sneezing, shaking hands, or touching an object that has been in the proximity of a sick person and then touching the face—particularly the nose, mouth or eyes. This is one of the primary ways of transmitting the virus that causes the common cold.

Washing your hands after using the toilet or changing a diaper is of utmost importance, as the ingestion of even the smallest amount of fecal matter can cause serious illness from deadly pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella, giardiasis and hepatitis A, among others. You should also be particularly careful about washing your hands after touching garbage, handling animals or animal waste, visiting or caring for an ill person, or if your hands show visible dirt.

Those who handle food should routinely wash their hands, not only after using the toilet, but also after touching raw meat, fish or poultry, since the microbes present on uncooked food can cause gastrointestinal infections ranging from mild to severe or even life-threatening.

Perhaps those with the greatest need to wash their hands on a regular basis are healthcare workers. Because they’re constantly exposed to sick patients and patients with weakened immune systems, and since they frequently come into contact with contaminated surfaces, these professionals have a special responsibility. Before the importance of hand washing was widely understood within the healthcare community, millions of people became sick or died from infections passed along on the hands of their caregivers. During the 19th century, up to 25% of women died in childbirth from childbed fever (puerperal sepsis), a disease subsequently found to be caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. After hand washing was introduced as a standard practice in the delivery room, the rate of death dropped to less than 1%.

It All Begins With Hand Awareness

Here are the “4 Principles of Hand Awareness”:

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating
  2. DO NOT cough into your hands
  3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands
  4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose or mouth

How to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

To wash your hands properly, you need only two things: soap and clean, running water. If these two things are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has a minimum 60% alcohol content.

Before washing your hands, remove all rings and other jewelry. Using running water, wet your hands thoroughly, then apply enough soap to work up a nice lather. Keeping your hands out of the water, rub them together, being sure to scrub both the front and backs of your hands, including your wrists, and also washing between the fingers and under the nails. Do this for 20 seconds, then rinse completely under the running water. Be sure to turn off the taps with a paper towel rather than your bare hand. According to the CDC, the whole process should take about as much time as singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

But What About Drying?

The Mayo Clinic recently published its own comprehensive review and analysis of every known hand washing-related study produced since 1970. Interestingly, their researchers found that drying hands was a key part of preventing the spread of bacteria. They also concluded that paper towels are better than blowers for this purpose. Here’s some of their reasoning:

  • Most people prefer paper towels to blowers, so they’re more likely to use them.
  • Blowers take too long, encouraging people to wipe their newly-cleaned hands on dirty pants or to skip the step altogether.
  • It takes less energy to manufacture a paper towel than it does to dry hands with a blower.
  • Blowers dry out the skin on your hands.
  • Blowers scatter bacteria three to six feet from the device.

As chiropractic physicians, we have a special interest in helping our patients (and non-patients, for that matter) avoid illness and injury. This means helping them develop healthy lifestyle habits—like regular hand washing—that prevent disease. We also work closely with them in areas like diet, exercise, sleep and stress management. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do to help you stay healthy and live your life to its fullest, please call or visit our office today!


Chiropractic Care and Postpartum Depression

Chiropractic Care and Postpartum Depression

???????????????Many research studies have confirmed the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy. The postural and hormonal changes a woman goes through during pregnancy are potentially debilitating, and chiropractic adjustments have been shown to alleviate many of the most common problems. Studies have indicated that regular chiropractic care during pregnancy helps to prevent breech deliveries, permits more unobstructed fetal development, and reduces birth trauma in the infant. For the mother, chiropractic adjustments often relieve back pain during pregnancy, reduce labor time and make delivery easier.

But several of the important benefits of chiropractic care only become apparent after the birth. The hormonal and postural changes of pregnancy, combined with the stress of delivery itself, often cause severe symptoms of postpartum depression after the baby is born. Chiropractic adjustments during this recovery period can help to reduce the likelihood of postpartum depression, quicken recovery time, and help new mothers to re-normalize their pelvic and spinal structures.

At least one 1975 study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association indicates that “post-partum depression is a rarity in patients receiving…manipulative [adjustment] therapy.” And the first-hand reports from the new mothers seem to reflect this same finding—many cite regular post-delivery chiropractic care as being as important to their overall mental health as it was to their physical health during the pregnancy itself. Intuitively, you can easily understand why this would be the case. Not only is the new mother’s body trying to return to some semblance of “normalcy” after nine months of pregnancy and the stress of delivery, it’s doing so during a period when they are “new mothers.” They aren’t getting enough sleep, they are so busy taking care of their new babies that they often don’t have the time to eat properly themselves or get enough exercise, and their hormones are still going crazy.

Doctors of chiropractic can offer a great deal of support during this critical period, ranging from “hands on” adjustments, relaxation therapies, and massage treatments to nutritional, exercise, and lifestyle advice that help new mothers’ bodies grow stronger. And, of course, chiropractic does this the same way it addresses other problems – in a holistic manner, without drugs and without surgery, aiming at helping the body heal itself.

From a biomechanical point of view, your “post-partum” period lasts for a full year after giving birth. It takes that long for the hormone relaxin– so essential in facilitating the bone and connective tissue changes necessary to give birth – to leave the body. During this time, the hormone continues to affect your ligaments, spine, and pelvis. It can produce pain and feelings of instability that make it difficult to stand and walk normally. These physical changes are magnified emotionally, as your hormone levels change and you deal with the pressures of being a new parent.

So even if you didn’t take advantage of chiropractic care during your pregnancy, consider using it during this period after the baby has been born. It can help in many ways, and anything that helps to re-establish your normal sense of health and well-being is good for your baby, too.