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Blog: Organizing For Special Needs
Living Well In A Healthy Home

Well, to quote the elementary school kids...

People who have chronic illnesses or spend some time in hospitals are more likely to become hosts to "cooties" than the general population.

We'll look at some of those unwanted house guests that make our bodies home.

There is a lot of talk in the media about both community acquired and hospital acquired staphylococus infections.

It has always been my belief that it is better to be informed about health issues, rather than ignorant. Of course, no one wants to live in fear, so how can being educated about possible health risks help us?

We can decide which health risks may be pertinent to our lives. We can weight our desires and habits, with the possible outcomes and make educated choices.

If you love a high protein diet, and choose to eat red meat for every meal, you can remain conscious of new studies that are being done. When you find that your concern about stomach cancer is heightened due to a family members illness, you may then choose to change some of your habits. If you are not ready, you don't need to feel the useless emotion of unresolved guilt.
It is just a choice. You are choosing your life. You can choose knowledge, and still have free will.

We must all travel our own path.

We know that in families that have a culture of sharing personal care items
(wash clothes, towels, razors, makeup, brushes), that there is an increased risk of all members of the family members coming in contact with parasites ,bacteria, or viruses that they may in fact, not wish to share with their loved ones.

When your first grader comes home with head lice from the pillow strewn reading nook at school, you may wish you hadn't been sharing that hair brush.

When your friends baby gets "cold sores", she may wish she had been more vigilant about not sharing her drinking glass.

When your fellow cubicle dwellers all get similar illnesses, you may look suspiciouslly at that computer keyboard or shared telephone.

There are many ways to have healthy and loving contact with our family and friends, while having a little structure to help prevent infections.

1) Prevent cross contamination, reduce eye infections, MRSA, and other viruses or bacteria that may like to live in your wet towels.
Buy different colored towels and washclothes for each member of the family.
Towels are a wonderful item to get at discount stores like Ross or Marshall's. They sell the same brands as department stores, at reduced prices. You might hang hooks in the bathroom so that towels don't have to be thrown together over the rod(much quicker, and easier too).

2) If you have a busy household, and repeated illness....look at possible sources.
Wipe down door handles,drawers and the refrigerator door once a week.
Soap and water is fine, or you can use a commercially prepared product.

3) Purell is pure alcohol. It does not contribute to increased strength of bacteria.
It kills bacteria outright, and is the choice for quick germ killing in the hospital..found to be more effective than soap and water at eradicating germs.

Keep a bottle in a common area in your home. We have one where my daughter applies her makeup, as I know she goes here every day.
Encourage good hand hygiene and awareness of healthy self care practices.

We don't want our kids not picking their noses just because it's socially unacceptable, but because they just touched that frequently used bathroom door handle, and now are inoculating themselves with whatever virus they just came across.

For people who use a wheelchair, it can be difficult to get to a sink.
Purell now makes tiny clip on travel bottles that can be clipped to a purse or a wheelchair seatbelt. No more pushing your chair around and then having to eat with soiled hands, because it's impossible to fit into the restaurant bathroom.

4)Humidify- One of the reasons we can be more prone to illness in the winter months is that we are shut up together in closed spaces. We heat these spaces and our noses dry out and can even crack. This creates an environment in our nose that has been found to lead to increased infection. I found showering every day has helped me have less infections, and some people swear by the Neti pot or other nasal irrigation methods (which can seem a little weird at first, but really feel good when you are suffering from a sinus problem). I don't like the look of a lot of plastic in my home, so I found an older glass humidifier and keep it on a pedastal behind a large chair in my living room.
This way it isn't visible, but helps to keep the most frequently used area of my home comfortable.

5) Treat and cover wounds. A MRSA infection is often mistaken for a spider bite. Clean your wound well, apply antibiotic ointment, and COVER IT! Many people believe that only small children need Bandaids, but with increasing antibiotic resistant serious infections, this is not true. Your skin is your main protective barrier, when it is broken, do what you can to keep the area protected until it heals.

Take care of yourself.

If you are ill and not improving or have a wound that looks questionable, see a health care provider. If you go to YouTube you can type in MRSA and see what an uncared for wound looks like. You will then find yourself asking why these people are filming, rather than going to get some help. No one wants a dangerous blood infection, so don't ignore your body.

Personally, I have always found it a fun challenge to battle these invisible forces.

I hope this has been helpful, and that you too enjoy creating a healthy home.

Lisa Alishio, COTA/L

Professional Organizer
Clarity Home Consulting

Live Well in Your Home

posted on: 12/26/2007 12:30:00 PM by Lisa Alishio
category: Special Populations

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Organizing For Special Needs

by Lisa Alishio

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About Lisa:

Lisa Alishio, COTA/L, is a professional organizer with a background in pediatric and adult occupational therapy. Her intention is to help people of all ages and abilities to "Live Well in their Home".

Lisa's Website:


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