THIS WEEK IS

Christmas Tree Week -- The first full week in December. It's the perfect time to point out the differences between a Christmas Tree and a date.
  • A Christmas tree is ready when you go to pick it up.
  • A Christmas tree won't retaliate if you dump it after a month.
  • You don't need a clever line to pick up a Christmas tree.
  • You can fondle a tree before you take it home.
  • A Christmas tree doesn't mind you looking under it.
  • A Christmas tree doesn't become envious around bigger trees. This would be known as treeness envy.
  • A Christmas tree doesn't go completely to pieces if you mishandle its balls.
  • You don't have to worry about who else has had your tree.
  • A Christmas tree doesn't worry about how many others you've had.
  • A Christmas tree doesn't object to exotic electrical appliances.
  • A Christmas tree doesn't think your a whacko if it finds an artificial tree in your closet.
  • The tree doesn't get upset when you tie it up and put it in the trunk to take it home.

National Hand Washing Awareness Week -- December 5-11.  Studies say that frequent hand washing greatly reduces your chances of getting sick as often. Doctors recommend washing your hands before meals with warm soap and water for about as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday." 

Public bathrooms are cleaned fairly often, so while you're wise to use your hip to push open stall doors and paper towels to manage handles and knobs, you're more likely to pick up the sniffles from other places in your daily travels. Pull out your handy antibacterial wipes when you're:
  • At the grocery store. How often do you think shopping cart handles are cleaned? Think how often they're used.
  • Using cashier pens. Pens provided to sign credit card purchases are superb carriers of cold viruses. That goes for pens in doctors' offices, at banks, and by delivery people. So carry your own pen.
  • At ATM and in the elevator. Press all buttons with a finger or knuckle that you're unlikely to use to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Better yet, use a key or a pen you carry with you.
  • Washing your hands. Unless the liquid hand soap in public bathroom is in its own sealed bag, it's likely a breeding fiesta for bacteria. Rinse well with warm water and use your own hand sanitizer.

Pushing an elevator button is more likely to make you sick than kissing your under the weather husband. Why? If someone sneezes into his hand before hitting the button, the virus ridden fluid from his nose awaits you. Saliva, however, contains little, if any, cold viruses, explains Dr. Neil Schachter, M.D., professor of pulmonary medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of "The Good Doctor's Guild to Colds and Flu."
Woman's Day offers these stats on colds and flu.
  • 200 plus cold viruses exist
  • 3 to 8 colds is the average number a child will get in a year
  • 93mph is the rate at which air particles travel out of your nose and mouth when you sneeze
  • 3 feet is the distance droplets can travel from a cough or sneeze
  • 5 minutes is the time germs can live on hands
  • 1 to 2 days is how long cold germs can live on hard surfaces like doorknobs pens, and phones
  • 8 to 12 hours is how long a cold virus remains on cloth, tissue and paper
  • 30 seconds is how long you should scrub your hands to kill germs

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