Latest from Jerry Hankins MD (Dr. Jerry Hankins):Wash Your Hands – Dr Jerry Hankins

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washing hands

You’ve heard it before, maybe more so during your childhood, but it’s important to wash your hands as a child and as an adult. Washing one’s hands helps prevent infections and diseases from spreading. Cleaning hands is one of the most important steps one can take to avoid spreading germs to other people and getting sick themselves. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

Common diseases that are spread as a result of people not sufficiently washing their hands are E coli and Salmonella. Throughout the day we may get germs on our hands from, using the bathroom, handling raw meats or touching surfaces that have not been washed and where germs have been able to accumulate.

The problem is compounded in germ ridden venues like hospitals where, The Centers for Disease Control estimated 75,000 patients died last year from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the United States. These are often preventable by doctors and patients simply washing their hands. Not washing one’s hands is a very expensive problem here in the United States. It is estimated these hospital related infections cost our healthcare system $30 billion dollars a year.

As doctors we are constantly in environments that require us to clean our hands. There are a few gadgets that are coming out that help with the ease of cleaning our hands as we are often too busy to remember. Swipesense, which is easily attached to our scrubs and gives the hospital data as to the cleanliness of our hands. Also, BioVigil which has red, yellow, and green light depending on how long it’s been since washing our hands.  We don’t necessarily need any added motivation in the form of public humiliation, but gadgets like this serve an important purpose.

The summer is coming to end so if you’re trying to get in your last few trips to state fair, or zoo. Contact with animals is one of the easiest ways to contract contagious infections. Also, taking into consideration the rapid spread Ebola scare in West Africa and the cost to American health care it is time to think twice about not washing your hands.



Latest from Jerry Hankins MD (Dr. Jerry Hankins):Caffeine-Free Remedies to Combat Fatigue – Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

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Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

Caffeine-Free Remedies to Combat Fatigue

When you haven’t had your recommended seven hours of sleep, reaching for the first caffeinated beverage you see in the morning becomes almost instinctual.  Unfortunately, not sleeping well and then relying on caffeine to get you through the day can contribute to a cycle of sleepless nights and stressful days.  The effects of caffeine can take up to eight hours to wear off, causing you to feel jittery, anxious and affect your overall quality of sleep.  Instead of reaching for the caffeine next time you’re feeling the strain of a sleepless night, try a natural, caffeine-free remedy.

Take a Break and Take a Walk

If you have a job where you sit in front of a computer screen all day or are continuously reading, make sure you are taking breaks regularly.  Constant straining of the eyes can worsen feelings of fatigue.  Make sure that you are periodically looking away from your computer screen or text and giving your eyes a chance to relax.

If you are still feeling fatigued, consider taking a brisk 10-minute walk.  Movement increases the oxygen flow through your veins, to your muscles and to your brain.  Breathing deeply will also raise blood oxygen levels in your body.  This can improve your overall energy level by slowing down your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure and improving circulation throughout your body.


Dim lightening can aggravate fatigue and even bring on feelings of depression.  Turning up the lights in the room you are in can increase alertness and make you feel less tired.

However, if you’re feeling extremely fatigued, the best decision might require turning down the lights and taking a quick power nap, if possible.  Try taking a five to twenty-five minute nap.  Set an alarm to make sure you do not sleep much longer than half an hour.  Be sure not to nap too close to your bedtime, and do not take more than one a day as this can also upset sleep patterns.  If taking a nap is not an option, consider closing your eyes just and resting quietly for ten minutes.

Have a Snack

Drinking caffeine when you have not eaten much can upset your stomach.  Instead of choosing caffeine, which will ultimately make you feel worse later in the day, try eating a healthy snack.  Sugary snacks can be a problem, and can cause “sugar lows,” which can produce lethargy, after consumption.  Try a healthier snack, like peanut butter, nuts, or fresh veggies, to wake you up and keep you focused.