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Hand Hygiene Tips Help Prevent Spread of Infection
04/29/2009

CLEBURNE, Texas — It’s hard to turn on the TV or radio without hearing about the North American (Swine) flu. But simple steps can really help prevent the spread of infection.

A Message from Texas Health Cleburne
Regarding North American Flu

Carol Olivier, R.N.,
Infection prevention and control practitioner
 Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne

With only a few isolated cases reported the swine flu is not a pandemic at this time. Individuals concerned that they have swine flu symptoms should call and make an appointment with their primary care physician.

Although you should not be discouraged from going to the Emergency Department of a hospital when you have a true emergency, you should be aware that Primary care or urgent care physicians treat the flu.

Texas Health Hospitals are prepared and are implementing plans to handle any patients experiencing symptoms of the North American flu. Good hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of the flu and other infections.

Washing hands on a regular basis and coughing and sneezing into your sleeves instead of your hands can help lower the risk of spreading infectious germs.

All visitors are encouraged to exercise common sense precautions and refrain from bringing young children to visit loved ones in the hospital.

For more information on the swine flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site.

“There are many myths floating around about the North American flu as information has spread like wildfire,” said Carol Olivier, R.N., infection prevention and control practitioner at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne. “The most important thing to remember is not to panic. Only a handful of cases have been reported and we are waiting on confirmation of the source of their illness. Practicing good hand hygiene and watching for symptoms is really the best thing that we as a community can do right now.”

The easiest ways to protect yourself is to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, cleaning your hands often, and reminding children to practice healthy habits can have a big payoff, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Who doesn’t know the “Happy Birthday” song? Well, it turns out the tune isn’t just for when birthday cakes are brought out to blow out candles.

To ensure that hands are cleaned thoroughly, the CDC recommends washing hands — with soap and warm water — for 15 to 20 seconds, or about the same time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

According to the CDC, symptoms are similar to typical flu symptoms and include fever, lack of appetite and coughing. Symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea also have been reported, according to the CDC.

Individuals who think they might have the North American flu should call their physician to make an appointment. Individuals should refrain from visiting the Emergency Department unless there is a true medical emergency. For more information about the North American flu should visit www.cdc.gov or www.texashealth.org.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne is a 137-bed acute-care, full-service hospital that has served Cleburne and the Johnson County area since 1986. The hospital’s services include surgery, women’s services, urology, orthopedics and ear, nose and throat care. Texas Health Cleburne, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized with the 2007 Premier/Carescience Select Practice National Quality Award. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 14 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, and Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health Organization for Physicians and Texas Health Physicians Group provide a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas Health is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.

 

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