October 12, 2007

Your health is in your hands


National Infection Control Week October 15th to 19th

NEWMARKET – The third week of October has been proclaimed by the Canadian federal government as National Infection Control Week.  


Since 1989, National Infection Control Week provides professionals in the health care and infection control field with an opportunity to highlight the importance of infection prevention and control within the community.  The goal of this year’s local campaign is to raise awareness of hand hygiene among York Region seniors.


Hands spread an estimated 80 per cent of common infectious diseases, such as the flu and common cold.  While people of all ages are susceptible to infections, seniors may be more vulnerable as age is associated with a decline in general health.  This also may make it more difficult for seniors to fight off an infection once acquired.


The single and most effective way seniors can reduce the spread of germs and risk of illness throughout the year is to learn and practice proper hand hygiene.  Below are some hand hygiene tips:


·         Wash hands with soap and water:  Wet hands, apply liquid soap, lather for 15 seconds, rinse, towel dry, turn taps of with towel

·         Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers (with 60 to 90-per cent alcohol) if soap and water are not available and when hands are not visibly dirty:  Apply one squirt, rub hands together covering all surfaces, rub until hands are completely dry

·         Wash hands before eating or drinking, and before touching, cooking or serving food

·         Wash hands after blowing nose, coughing, sneezing, using the washroom, going outdoors, visiting someone who is sick, touching animals or handling garbage


Another effective way of preventing illness is to get an annual flu shot.  Health Canada recommends the flu vaccine for all healthy children and adults every year.  It is available free of charge to all individuals, aged six months or older, who live, work or attend school in Ontario.  


York Region residents can get the flu shot at one of the York Region Community and Health Services Flu Clinics or from a family doctor, beginning at the end of October.  Clinic dates and locations will be advertised in your local paper and on the York Region website.


For more information on National Infection Control Week or any other health-related topic, please contact York Region Community and Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.


For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca


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Media Contact:         Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region

                                 Phone: (905) 830-4444 Ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell (905) 716-2717

                                 Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca
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