In this week's article, we hear from Dr. Punam Krishan an NHS GP featured on BBC Morning Live & BBC Radio Scotland, as she shares how the last 18 months have made her appreciate the importance of infection prevention and control.
It's over 18 months into this pandemic and so much has changed, especially the way we navigate our everyday life and routines. For me, the biggest transition both personally and professionally, has been a heightened awareness of infection control.
For us doctors, infection control is always paramount. Before we see any patient, we are programmed to wash our hands and sterilise the environment, this is not just to protect our patients but also to protect ourselves. I quickly learnt during this pandemic the power of good infection control in its ability to mass protect in a way we have never appreciated before.
From young kids to the elderly, everyone now has an understanding and a heightened awareness of how to protect themselves from catching infections and it has been a real positive outcome from what has been a very difficult time.
Due to repeated lockdowns, we have all been living in protective bubbles. Having not mingled with others, we have not had the same exposure to the commonly circulating viruses and bacteria that we would ordinarily have faced pre-pandemic. This has meant that over time our immunity to these pathogens has reduced. As a result, people are experiencing more severe symptoms when getting something like the common cold or gastroenteritis because our immune systems are mounting more intense responses to fight them off.
As schools have returned back, nurseries become busier and soft plays reopened, there has been a surge in cases of non-covid infections like the cold, tonsillitis, chest infections, tummy bugs as well as hand, foot and mouth. I have seen these in my clinic but also going through it as a mother of two young kids!
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So, what have I been doing to protect myself and my family? Firstly, I have been paying close attention to how I clean my surfaces. Ensuring I am disinfecting all commonly used surfaces, including toys and other frequently-touched objects around the house. I have taught my son how to wash his hands with soap and warm water regularly especially before he eats anything and the same for my toddler, who mainly explores the world with her hands and mouth.
In addition to this, I carry disinfectant wipes in my car and in my bag so I can reassure myself that when out and about, any surfaces we touch are as clean as possible. When I'm out with my kids, I am always anxious about them catching COVID-19, so even in the park or at restaurants, I like to make sure surfaces are safe to touch.
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What's more, we have become accustomed to carrying hand sanitiser with us everywhere! Little bottles of hand gel live in our bags – which makes it super easy for quick and effective hand cleaning, if we cannot get to wash our hands. My son even has hand gel in his lunchbox. All of these interventions make a significant difference in keeping us all safe. I also encourage and support the use of face coverings in order to protect against airborne infections like the common cold, flu and of course COVID. However, with younger children, this isn't as effective as it's tricky to get them to wear a mask!
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Wiping down surfaces, using hand sanitising gels and wearing masks are just some of the ways I try to protect my family, it’s important to control what you can. Don't forget to nourish yourself to help strengthen and build up your immunity by keeping a healthy balanced diet, exercising daily and getting good sleep. By doing all these things, I know that I am keeping my family safe and I advocate the same to my wider family, friends, and patients alike.
If you'd like to find out more about Dr. Punam Krishan, visit her Instagram page. For more information on our products that help protect you and your family visit our Clinell page. Help spread the word about the importance of infection control by sharing this article on social media.
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