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Have You Been Washing Your Hands Correctly? The Answer Is Probably No

Have You Been Washing Your Hands Correctly? The Answer Is Probably No

In 1847, Dr Ignaz P. Semmelweiss, a Hungarian obstetrician, realized that the occurrence of infections and mortality in newborns could be considerably reduced by practicing proper hand hygiene. As this was before the confirmation of the germ theory by Louis Pasteur, Semmelweis could not give any acceptable scientific explanation for his discovery. He was committed to an insane asylum by his colleagues when they became offended by his attempt to promote better hand-washing habits among them. His realization earned widespread acceptance within a few years of his death.

Washing hands has been proven to be able to significantly decrease the spread of so many diseases. Poor hand hygiene practices are the primary cause of many illnesses, starting with the common cold to more grave infections such as meningitis, hepatitis A, and many varieties of infectious diarrhea.

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However, most people take less than 10 seconds to wash their hands. They wash mostly the palms of their hands and usually miss the remaining areas. Fingertips hold more bacteria than the palms, and there is a germ stronghold under your nails.

The Horrifying Truth

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Amelia asking Reese to Share

    Most people assume that the transference of diseases by “touch” means getting infected by being in physical contact with an infected person. But the fact is “touch” primarily refers to touching your own mouth, eyes, and nose, or the touching of food you are about to consume with your own contaminated unwashed hands. This “touch” transfers approximately 80% of communicable diseases.

    The number one cause of child mortality is pneumonia. Respiratory illnesses like the common cold, the flu, and pneumonia can be communicated by touching your face with contaminated hands. The second-most widespread cause of childhood death is diarrhea. Touching food with unwashed hands can lead to diarrhea and other food-borne infections like E. Coli, Salmonella, and Staph. Washing your hands can decrease diarrhea rates by at least 40%.

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    The two most crucial times for washing your hands are after using the bathroom and before handling food. But the horrifying truth is that only 20% of people actually wash their hands before touching food. Any area you touch in a bathroom, from the door handle and the flush knob to the faucet, is covered with germs. When a toilet is flushed with the lid open, bacteria such as E. Coli and Staph float in the fine mist which finally settles, covering every inch of the bathroom. The percentage of women washing their contaminated hands after a toilet jaunt is just 75%, while it is a shocking 50% for men.

    The WHO Steps to Clean and Safe Hands

    The World Health Organization recommends the following effective hand-washing technique and outlines the following steps. This is much more effective than “Apply soap all over your hands and wash it off.”

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      Though ideally you should wash your hands for at least 30 seconds, the minimum recommended time is 15 seconds.That extra 15 seconds can remove 10 times more bacteria. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for just 30 seconds can kill the same amount of bacteria as two whole minutes of washing your hands with soap and water.

      Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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