Protecting Your Health and the Health of Those Around You

Tina Butt

I said if there was ever a topic that you wanted to discuss, let me know. Well, I received a request for this weeks topic! This topic goes along with our current health crisis.

In Graduate School, I took a Community Health class as part of my required curriculum. I had to choose a group in my community to work with and educate on a health related issue. At the time, my daughter was going to a local day-care. She was coming home sick all the time. The other kids had runny noses every time I picked her up. It never failed, when she got sick so did I. So…… I asked the day care if I could provide a very important education experience to the children in the facility, so infection risk would lessen. Of course, the owner did not hesitate.

I started researching daycare centers, healthcare facilities and other areas that had large groups of people. My research proved what I thought, large groups of people will cause a large number of bacteria to be spread! Why? you ask. Coughing, sneezing and touching. Look at the CDC and WHO websites, they say the same thing; by washing your hands, the spread of diarrhea and respiratory illness will decrease. This decrease in the spread of germs will keep me and you healthier.

Regular hand washing will remove bacteria and germs, decrease your risk of contracting an illness and prevent others from getting ill. You should wash your hands before contact with others, after contact with others, after blowing your nose, after you use the restroom, after you have been exposed to an ill person, before you eat and after you come in contact with an item exposed to a large group of people.

When I taught the day care children how to wash their hands, I used a game to get them to follow along. I sprinkled their hands with glitter and said they needed to sing the ABC song 2 times! If the glitter was still on their hands that meant they did not wash them good enough. In this case the glitter acted as the “germs”. Can you guess how many kiddos still had glitter on their hands? Of these kids, can you guess where the glitter accumulated? The pics below are courtesy of my 13 year old daughter:

Are you done guessing?

Most of the kids had glitter that accumulated on their nail beds and under their fingernails. That means, dirt, germs, bacteria, pinworms (yes I said pinworms!) and potential illness lay at the tips of our fingers! The tips of our fingers!!! This is what we use to shake hands, put makeup on, put contacts in our eyes, hold hands, eat/drink, cook etc.

So, the reason for this blog was at the request of someone that witnessed a person(s) with artificial nails that were way too long! The concern was that these particular people were in the healthcare setting. Let’s talk about this scenario…….

Bedside medical staff are the ones bathing, cleaning, brushing teeth, cleaning a person after use of the restroom etc. Yes, they wear gloves(hopefully), but I have seen people need to use 2 pair of gloves due to their nails being so long, they risked poking through the tips of the gloves. This exposed them to all of the germs they came into contact with. If they rushed while washing their hands, they will pass the same germs onto everyone else they assist for that day, including themselves. Back to the glitter…… do you think glitter would accumulate under long nails? What do you think is the risk of long nails?

I found an article at, that studied healthcare workers who had artificial nails at work. They cultured positive for Staphylococcus aureus, a potential dangerous bacteria. Among the health care workers who had artificial nails, they found that 73% had some kind of organism on the underside of their nails, compared with 32% of those with natural nails. Washing with antimicrobial soap or alcohol-based gel had only a modest effect on the colonization of organisms. Of 17 health care workers with artificial nails that harbored pathogens, 94% still had a pathogen present after washing with soap and 67% had a pathogen after gel use.

I have been known to have artificial nails. I get my nails done prior to vacation. Any other time of year, I have my natural nail with gel polish. But, on the day I received the request for this blog post, I had just finished getting my nails done for a vacation that had been scheduled(now cancelled due to our current health crisis). Now what? I filed them down!

Please let this be a small lessen right now. When we are in the middle of a healthcare crisis and we are trying to promote healthy hygiene, our hands are our main tools! If we do not take good care of our hands, then we are subjecting others to our poor decision to “look pretty”.(now I have to schedule an appointment to get my artificial nails removed 😉

Tina Butt, Owner of Qualified Wellness Solutions, LLC

Health and Wellness Coach and Healthcare Advocate

Contact me if you would like to work with me as your Wellness Coach so you can improve your Health!

5 thoughts on “Protecting Your Health and the Health of Those Around You”

  1. Tina Thank you so much I love it. I hope every hospital administrator and health care professional can read it. Keep up the great work. Ben

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