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Share Gifts, Not Germs, This Holiday Season
12/19/2008

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — With the holidays approaching, many people will be gathering to share gifts, but one present that no one wants this Christmas is to get sick at the family party.

Some viruses and bacteria can live two hours or longer on surfaces such as doorknobs, tables and desks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Simple tips, such as covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze, cleaning your hands often, and reminding children to practice healthy habits can have a big payoff, according to the CDC.

Who doesn’t know the “Happy Birthday” song? Well, it turns out the tune isn’t just for when birthday cakes are brought out to blow out candles. To ensure that hands are cleaned thoroughly, the CDC recommends washing hands — with soap and warm water — for 15 to 20 seconds, or about the same time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

“As with many things in life, simple precautions and solutions are often the most effective and the same is true about protecting yourself from getting sick at the holidays,” said Laura Parker, R.N., B.S.N., Infection Prevention/Employee Health Coordinator at Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, soon to be Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville. “Getting wrapped up in a fun party can be distracting, but making time to thoroughly wash your hands can keep you in the holiday spirit.

“No one wants to miss holiday parties, but it’s much better to be cautious and stay home and rest when you are coughing or have a fever.”

About Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital
Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, soon to be Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, is a 98-bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital's services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women and infant care, advanced diagnostic imaging, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and wound care. Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, please call 1-888-4-HARRIS, or visit www.texashealth.org/hmec.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.

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