Now that winter has arrived, it seems like the temperatures are decreasing and the spread of germs is increasing. In an effort to stay healthy this season I find myself constantly washing my hands and trying to maintain good hygiene. Hygiene refers to activities, such as hand washing, bathing, and brushing your teeth, that help you stay healthy. Maintaining good hygiene is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of infections.
Why is washing your hands so important?
Women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by doing things to prevent the risk of infection. Not all birth defects can be prevented, but by including small, healthy hygiene activities into your daily routine, you can help prevent the spread of infections.
So how often, is often?
Wash your hands:
- Before preparing or eating food
- After handling raw meat, raw eggs or unwashed vegetables
- After being around pets or animals
- After changing diapers or wiping runny noses
Besides washing hands, what else can you do?
Don’t put your child’s food, utensils, cups or pacifiers in your mouth. Children’s saliva or urine may contain cytomegalovirus or CMV, a kind of herpesvirus that women can pass to their baby during pregnancy. CMV can cause problems for some babies, including a birth defect called microcephaly. Be sure to wash your hands every time after touching a child’s bodily fluids.
By making small changes to your hygiene routine, you can help prevent the spread of germs and infections. Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.