Health and fitness briefs, Dec. 11, 2012

Health and fitness briefs, Dec. 11, 2012
by Ken Raymond Published: December 11, 2012
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HYGIENE

Wash hands frequently

Just think of all the things your hands touch from day to day: countertops, railings, bathroom surfaces, doorknobs, shoes, pets, elevator buttons and more. You easily can pick up germs that can cause disease if your dirty fingers touch your eyes, nose, mouth or any break in the skin.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages everyone to wash their hands thoroughly and often.

“Even when your hands look clean, they may carry germs,” the health department noted in a news release. “Germs on your hands can cause illnesses such as common colds, influenza (flu), skin infections such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or more serious illnesses such as diarrhea, bronchitis, hepatitis A and meningitis.”

The health department offers these hand-washing tips:

Do your hands look dirty? Wet your hands with warm water, then lather up with liquid or bar soap. Rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds to remove the dirt, and take time to scrub your nails, thumbs, wrists and the back of your hands. Rinse well and dry with a clean towel. In public areas, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door.

Hands look clean? Doesn't hurt to disinfect with an alcohol-based gel or foam. Disinfectants should contain 60 to 95 percent alcohol. Thoroughly moisten your hands, then rub in to dry.

Wash up before, curing and after you prepare food; before you eat; before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth; before you insert of remove contact lenses; before and after using sports equipment; before and after treating a cut or wound; and after your blow your nose, cough or sneeze into your hands.

Also wash well after you use the bathroom or change a diaper; after handling uncooked foods, especially meat, poultry or fish; after touching animals or animal waste; after you handle garbage or dirty laundry; and if someone in your home is ill.

For more information about preventing illness, go to www.health.ok.gov.

FITNESS

Take time to stretch

Stretching isn't the most enjoyable part of a workout, but it's vital to improve performance, decrease injury risk and increase flexibility.

Life Fitness, a manufacturer of gym-quality exercise equipments, suggests these stretching techniques.

Start with a warm-up. Stretching at the beginning of your workout can decrease performance. Instead, do a low-intensity version of whatever activity you're about to perform, gradually increasing muscle temperature. If you're about to jog, for example, try walking briskly as a warm-up.

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by Ken Raymond
Book Editor
Ken Raymond is the book editor. He joined The Oklahoman in 1999. He has won dozens of state, regional and national writing awards. Three times he has been named the state's "overall best" writer by the Society of Professional Journalists. In...
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