GERMS

Serious bacteria like staphylococcus (staph), E. coli and others easily spread with hand-to-hand contact. National Handshake Day on June 28 might as well be renamed germ-spreading day.

Washing hands is considered one of the most effective ways to prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading, and prevent illness or infection.

A surprising number of people don’t wash their hands, according to a new survey commissioned by Hibiclens antibacterial soap.

According to the survey of 1,000 American adults:

— 56 percent don’t always wash their hands after covering their mouth when coughing.

— Almost one in six people (18 percent) don’t always wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

— Nearly half, 49 percent of people, don’t always wash their hands after blowing or picking their nose, a place where staph is commonly found in nearly 50 percent of a given population, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information.

SLEEP

Insomnia causes and solutions

Insomnia is defined as having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep three nights a week or more for at least three months.

“When dealing with insomnia, it’s important to rule out medical issues that could be driving it. For example, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea are two common problems that can lead to insomnia,” says Dr. Craig Sawchuk, Integrated Behavioral Health, Mayo Clinic. “If an evaluation doesn’t reveal anything, you may benefit from behavioral changes.”

He recommends first establishing a bedtime routine. Second, reduce the amount of wakeful time you spend in bed. If you get into bed and don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and go to another room. Read, relax or enjoy a quiet activity until you’re sleepy.

“By minimizing the amount of time you spend in bed awake, you’re teaching your brain to associate your bed with sleep,” he says.

TIP OF THE WEEK

A healthier, happier summer starts with these tips

Summer is the perfect time to start your resolution to live a healthier life, and your path to success begins with these tips from Arla Cream Cheese.

— Take up an active, outdoor hobby. Whether it’s running, walking, gardening or swimming, all can help you burn calories, improve muscle mass and have fun.

— Start your day off right. Eating right doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time at the table. A spread of cream cheese on a whole-grain bagel or toast is a quick, nutritious way to start your day off on the right foot.

— Grab some shades. Invest in a good pair of shades capable of blocking at least 99 percent of all ultraviolet A and B rays. Then make sure you wear them when you’re outdoors.

PREGNANCY

Myths and facts about pain management in childbirth

Nearly half of first-time moms (46 percent) said the pain they experienced with their first child was better than they expected, according to a survey commissioned by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

The survey revealed that many first-time moms held some false beliefs about labor pain management before they experienced childbirth:

— 74 percent thought you couldn’t have an epidural after a certain time in labor (you can have one until the baby’s head begins emerging, known as crowning).

— 44 percent feared pain at the epidural injection site would be prolonged.

— 26 percent believed an epidural slows labor.

— 20 percent believed only one pain management option could be provided during labor and 16 percent didn’t know.

Expectant mothers should work with their health care providers, including their physician anesthesiologist, to discuss what pain management methods may work best for them.

For more information, visit asahq.org/labor.

— Brandpoint