The Good Life in Austin Texas

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WORRIED ABOUT THE SWINE FLU EPIDEMIC? Wash Your Hands...it's NO JOKE!

Russell spreads the word about hand washing!I watched with interest as President Obama during his first hundred days address, state that one of the main things that could help thwart the spread of the current Flu virus was to wash your hands! He said it more than once for a reason. Many people do not take it seriously but it is a FACT! The CDC in Atlanta has determined that the Number 1 way that disease is spread throughout the world is from people NOT washing their hands often and correctly!

Now, I happen to be something of an expert on this particular issue...No Really! Previously I have written about my experience when I described my work Giving Back to Your Community as a School Volunteer. I discussed my role as a health care volunteer dressing up as "Healthy Bear" and teaching classes of kindergarteners and first graders why and how to correctly wash their hands. The fact of the matter is that people everywhere  take hand washing for granted.

If you really want to avoid catching any sorts of contagious diseases,  here are some easy to remember steps:

1. Turn on the water, warm, not hot and rinse your hands.

2. Soap your hands thoroughly and work up a lather.

3. Vigorous scrub your palms, the tops of your hands, the fingers and finish around your wrists!

4. Do this for about 30 seconds. A good rule of thumb is to sing the chorus of Here we go round the mulberry bush. Just change the words to "This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, wash our hands" Or if you can think of something that works for you, sing it! Just make sure you are soaping you hands vigorously for at least 30-45 seconds!

5. Rinse hands under a stream of water pointing hands down for the water to carry away the dirt and germs down the drain.

7. Completely dry your hands with a clean dry paper towel!

OH, he also mentioned, cover your mouth when you cough! Respect yourself and others around you!

That's it, easy as pie. Just do as Healthy Bear says and as I have told the school kids since 1993; Do yourself, your friends and family a favor!  Wash your hands correctly and often! Thanks for stopping by, you may now return to your regularly scheduled program!

Russell M. LewisPage copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

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63 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • April 29 2009 08:21PM

Comments

Hi Russell. I too saw the President mentioning washing your hands and covering your mouth when you sneeze as common sense things to do to protect yourself from the flu. All good tips.

Posted by Gary Woltal - Assoc. Broker REALTOR® SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 1 year ago

Its so true!  I remember my dad - when i was a little kid - ALWAYS - telling me to wash my hands - and I thought he was just being OCD......then a my kids were growing up he did the same thing - and now we know - like you say- it the NO. 1 thing we can do about the transmission of so many flues - bacteria -........and on and on!

Hey I wa just looking at my Texas pics - was that just 3 months ago?  Wow! Miss you guys!

Posted by Liz Moras ~Chilliwack Realtor, Chilliwack, Hope, Langley, Abbotsford (Harrison Hot Springs, Cultus Lake) about 1 year ago

Even in public restrooms...wash hands and back out the door!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman HAWAII Real Estate & Relocations (Century 21 Liberty Homes) about 1 year ago

HA HA HAAAAA!!! I still remember when you first came to my class. I started giggling as soon as i recognized your voice! It's always true and so simple WASH YOUR HANDS!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

 Gary If I had not learned about this during my years teaching it to children, I might not have taken it seriously!

Hi Liz!So true and such a simple thing that can help so much! It's good to see you and i hope you return to Austin someday. I need to drop by your blog and see what is happening in your part of the world!

Sally YIKES, I forgot to mention that great tip! Back out the bathroom door!

Mattie You may not believe this but I remember that day too and I also remember you reminding me to remember myself!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell, Great advice and so important for our country right now.

Posted by Marchel Peterson Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) about 1 year ago

If the banks don't get us, the pigs surely will.  Wait ...

Posted by Paul Slaybaugh, Scottsdale AZ Real Estate (Realty Executives) about 1 year ago

Russell, love your "Healthy Bear" get up.  What a clever way to get the kids to wash up properly. 

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern, Realtor Suffern, Rockland County NY (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 1 year ago

Marchel with all of the problems facing the country these days, it's actually good to have a simple and effective solution to one of them!

Paul Your comment reminds me of the Beatles song  Have you seen the little piggies? What they ned is a damn good whacking!

Leah Thanks, it has been the source of soem good naturedribbing over the years but has indeed worked well for many children to learn the basics about healthy habits!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I would add if you are at a public restroom once you have washed and dried you hands use the paper towel to turn the water off.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker Associate, GRI, ePRO, eAgent (Productivity Coach Keller Williams Dallas Premier) about 1 year ago

Richard,that is another excellent suggestion. Public restrooms require some extra vigilance when it comes to germs!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hello there, Mr. Healthy Bear! It's nice to see that you are still volunteering after all these years! I know the kids and teachers love it and you are doing everyone a great service! Sometimes we all need to remember the basics and thanks for the reminder!

Posted by Lynne about 1 year ago

Russell, I'd love to see you in Healthy Bear!!! Thanks for caring and yes, we practice the song while washing!  Love your Blog about the good life!!

Posted by Marie Valadez about 1 year ago

Hello Russell-great message with washing your hands. Make you wonder how many people don't wash theirs. Just thinking about that can be scary. I wash my hands a lot in a day. That is awesome what you do for the school kids as healthy bear. A very noble and wonderful thing to do. I think you make a very handsome bear. <WARM SMILE>

Posted by Sharon Lee (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) about 1 year ago

I think it's pretty sad that you actually have to tell people to wash their hands.  I have seen people use the restroom and walk out without even going near the sink.  GROSS. 

Posted by chris about 1 year ago

Lynne I used to keep it on the down low because I managed to get a lot of teasing but finally figured what the heck. It's an interesting conversation subject and we are all better off washing our hands!

Marie Thanks so much for visiting my Good Life blog. It's an extension of my blog here at active rain, Thanks for the compliments and I hope you visit often!

Sharon Why thank you very much. I like looking good as a bear! LOL and I appreciate the opportunity to give back in a meaningful if somewhat funny way!

Chris Me too, and it's amazing that we live in a country that is still pretty healthy in spite of the fact that many don't follow healthy habits!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Llevarse su manos..!! Todo a tiempo..

my pet peave is going to fast food places or even nice restuarants and seeing someone handle the money and then your food without washing their hands.. Pay attention and you will see how widespread it really is..

Posted by Buster Spillar about 1 year ago

OK.. one more pet peave..

Eating at a fast food, ie, McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.. People take their trash and tray to the trash bin and no one wipes the table when you are done.. i always leave my tray and trash so the managment knows the table needs to be wiped off..

Posted by Buster Spillar about 1 year ago

Good Morning Russell-There is that BIG handsome bear we all know and love spreading an excellent message and giving back to the community. That is such an excellent message for all and who better to spread the message than the loveable HEALTHY BEAR himself. Very nice indeed my friend. I'm glad to know that you are doing well with business. I'm surprised and happy that mine has. Hopefully in the next couple of months it will be even more so. Nice to chat with you and I'll talk to again. :-)

Posted by Pat Preston (RE/MAX 1st Olympic Lynchburg Va) about 1 year ago

Russell,

I literally just got back from Walgreens where I bought the last bottle of hand santitizer.  You're so right, its all about the hands.  Thanks Healthy Bear!

Posted by Elsa Decker (Heritage Title Company of Austin) about 1 year ago

Dear Healthy Bear, thanks for the tips.  Is that why there is no Bear Flu?

Posted by Ross Plummer (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Russell there is so much going on around this scare these days and it's good to hear some advice based in fact! Thanks for the link to CDC. My husband say that Alex Jones says it's a govt. conspiracy but he always says that. ha ha he is just another part of keeping Austin weird!

Thank you Healthy Bear!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell....you are so right and hand-washing cannot be stressed enough....especially with the WHO going to Level 5, it would be wise to err on the side of caution.

Posted by Gail MacMillan - CRS, e-PRO, GRI ~ Titusville FL Real Estate Brevard County (HomeSweetHomeFlorida.com) about 1 year ago

Russell, this is a national emergency and it is difficult to determine how severe the problem will be. The fact that hand washing is one of the best ways to help stop the spread of disease is so simple yet effective! Good to see Healthy Bear back in action!

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Avenue One Properties) about 1 year ago

Hey Mr. Healthy Bear, all kidding aside, it is important to remember to that washing your hands often is so beneficial to stopping the spread of germs! At least all of the children you have taught over the years know this! maybe others will follow suit!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell - Simple enough, right.  I should probably wash my hands more than I do, especially considering I have this strange appeal for "digging for gold".

Posted by Jason Sardi, Pretty Fly for an Allentown Guy (None needed;)) about 1 year ago

Well hello everyone, glad to see that that Healthy Bear is making a small difference! I will be back soon to reply to all of your comments and thanks for stopping by!

Jason digging for "gold" indeed. you completely crack me up!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I am, I am speechless and laughing my ace off at this serious subject; so YOU are Healthy Bear as well as Mr Real Estate... please exclude me from the chapter where you inform me how to properly maintain my Bear Ace. (be careful, the authorities may start monitoring your activities) *

 

Posted by Liz King about 1 year ago

Well now Russell, I see that Healthy Bear has arrived in the nick of time with some very good advice! People should wash their hands more often whether there is an epidemic or not!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

I am at the office now and Ally told me about your newest Blog Post. It's very funny and has a serious message too! I just hope that people are following this simple but effective advice!

Posted by Erin about 1 year ago

Good advice Russell. It is always better to be safe than sorry. It is a pretty scary thing!

Posted by Bill Gassett Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) about 1 year ago

And keep those hands away from your face!

Posted by Georgina M. Hunter R(S) e-Pro Maui Real Estate Sales (Jim Sanders Realty Inc. - Maui) about 1 year ago

Russell, and keep your fingers out of your mouth and your eyes. Step by step is a good thing! As a kid, stuff like this didn't seem as BIG!!!!

Posted by Teri Ellis at Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC about 1 year ago

Liz I know...it's hard to believe that I am actually Healthy Bear...Yep, the Bear is out of the Box so to speak!

ErinThanks, I've been helping out at several of the Eanes elementary schools in this capacity since 1993. That's why I am always mentioning that folks wash their hands!!

Billabsolutely, and all kidding aside, these days more than ever it;s important to practice personal hygiene!

Georgina ANOTHER GREAT TIP, WE ALSO TEACH THE KIDS TO COUGH AND SNEEZE IN THE INSIDE OF THE ELBOW!

Hi Teri Yet another great tip, hey I also wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your blog about the AR together!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

 

My Brother,

    And don't forget that when the children use bad words or misbehave you can wash their mouths out with soap. Scrub vigoriously, just like our mom used to do to us, or put tabasco on our tongues. Maybe that's why we have an affection for things hot and spicy. Lavase las manos!

Mark

Posted by Mark Lewis about 1 year ago

I just stopped by to say "Hi Tio", (Mark) Wow, I hope Healthy Bear never washes any ones mouth out with soap!??!

I also wanted to add that we are so proud of you for your work at the elementary schools in the Eanes School District and for your recognition by the school's over the years!!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

My, my.  Now I know for sure we are in a bear market.  Thanks for the work you do at the schools.  My kids are in EISD.

Posted by David Bieser about 1 year ago

Teh government says we have to wash our hands. What other personal and civil liberties will be next? Kissing? Licking public restroom door handes? Public frottage? Well, I say the people should rise up against the man. Conserve water, wipe 'em on yer pants that's why god put 'em there. yee-haw!

Posted by Ferde Turgeson about 1 year ago

Mark UH-OH...letting the cat of the bag! LOL And you do have a good attitude about the influence of tabasco on our taste for spicy foods!

Mattie Pay no attention to Tio, but you knew that already! And...thanks for the kudos!

David Thanks so much for dropping by, I just hope the kids keep coming home with positive reports about HAND WASHING!

Ferde OK...there is always ONE in every crowd but wait, now that I think about it, there are more than a few in our crowd! Now march your self ver to that sink and wash up! LOL

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I really shouldn't have time to think about this but I have been a freak about washing my hands in the last week! (and using my netti pot with hopes to cleanse my sinuses of all the ickies)

Posted by Renee Burrows - Las Vegas Real Estate (702-580-1783) www.ShackDiva.com (The Force Realty -Realtor>Estate>Probate>REO>Short Sale) about 1 year ago

My wise old grandmother taught me to wash my hands to the tune of Happy Birthday. Over the years I've changed it to Help!, A Hard Day's Night, Hey Jude (That used too much water), Flipper, Get Back, or any other song that I had just been listening to. My friends think I'm weird -- LOL.

Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego home inspector (Russel Ray, Property Consultant) about 1 year ago

Dear Russell,

Washing your hands is always the first step to  prevent illnes. Great post considering the current Swine Flu crisis. Thanks!

Betina

Posted by Betina Foreman-Serving Lake Travis, Lake Austin and the greater Austin area! ((512)771-6318 Prospect Real Estate Solutions, LLC) about 1 year ago

Renee I do it unconsciously since teaching kids about it and I also do the neti-pot thing but use a squirt bottle, because the other contraption look s goofy. Hey whatever works!

Russel Your Grandmother was very wise and I like the fact that you also wash to whatever tunes make it work as long as it doe NOT uses too much water LOL!! Good to see you my friend!

Hey Betina Thanks, Healthy Bear to the rescue! Talk to you soon!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi there, Mattie told me about this one and I just  wanted to tell you that I am proud of the work you have done in our schools and our community. You are a good man! See you later today!

Posted by Margaret about 1 year ago

This is common sense and common courtesy!  You are a very cute Healthy Bear!!!  My little grandboys would like you!

Posted by Cathy Lee ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA (CL Design Services Home Staging) about 1 year ago

Russell,  This is something that I am obsessive about--especially when someone is in the hospital--where the vast majority of nosocomial infections come from!  It's so simple and painless, I don't understand why everyone doesn't just do it automatically.

Debe in Charlotte

Posted by Debe Maxwell - Search Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte NC Neighborhoods (Helen Adams Realty) about 1 year ago

Hi Margaret, Thanks, I could never do any of the volunteer without your support! You are my greatest gift and I better stop here because I know you don't like me getting "mushy" in public!

CathyYou have grand kids??? Wow! Well, I will say the bear costume works well and always gets their attention just long enough to get the message across!

Debe You used to be a nurse right? My wife is a Nurse Anesthetist but was an RN before going to anesthesia school and she is always on us to practice healthy habits! Good to see you!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell...

Yesterday I took an hour or so to swing by our Church's youth basketball tournament. I was shocked when I went into the Church to get a bite to eat only to find that the Church Ladies were serving food with their bare hands. It's always been a standard of practice at our Church that the Church Ladies are required to wear gloves when serving food. I still can't believe that these Ladies were doing it. I watched one of them stick her hand in the trash can and push all those used paper plates down and then go back to serving food without washing her hands. Needless to say, I lost my appetite. It's okay though, I'm pig flu proof and a pound thinner :)

P.S. Yes. I'm going to tell the Pastor on them. I certainly don't want to cause trouble but their oblivion scares the crap out of me :)

TLW...ROAR!

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryant's Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell, I was sitting here at Phone Opportunity Time and decided to check out your blog. For such a serious subject, you bring some humor and  real solutions! I agree that so many people do not realize the importance of hand washing! Great article and keep up the good work!

Posted by Michelle about 1 year ago

TLW Oh my, you're a "church lady" too! I totally love that and yes, it is appalling so I have no doubt you and the preacher will have a meeting of the minds! Thanks for stopping by!

Michelle You know me, I am part serious and a lot of humor too! I appreciate you reading my blog and come back soon!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell...

In our neck of the woods you can't be a Church Lady until you turn 65 or your husband dies. Which ever comes first :)

Do you believe I said all that out loud? :)

TLW...ROAR!

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryant's Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 1 year ago

OH MY GOSH!!! And you do not fit in either category!!! I am laughing so hard because I often "think out loud" myself!!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

:)

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryant's Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Nice post. It will be fun singing while washing hands. Wish they have automatic doors to get into and out of bathrooms .

Posted by GITA BANTWAL, REALTOR BUCKS COUNTY, PA HOMES (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 1 year ago

TLW Thanks, and the same to you!

Gita Actually it's does become a habit! and I think you suggestion about the doors is a great idea!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I was scrolling down and reading over you blog and came across this one. I think it is cool that you have continued to volunteer with the schools for all these years!

Posted by Erin about 1 year ago

Erin Thanks, I really enjoy being able to give back in a meaningful (and slightly funny) way!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Funny how this died off ;)  I ended up getting tested for swine flu becaues I had an ear infection.  $200 later ............blah

Posted by Renee Burrows - Las Vegas Real Estate (702-580-1783) www.ShackDiva.com (The Force Realty -Realtor>Estate>Probate>REO>Short Sale) about 1 year ago

Renee Better safe than sorry I gguess but I do follow the Bear's suggestion and wash my hands more than most folks!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

I heard on the news today that the first wave of swine flu passed but now a second more virulent form is beginning to spread. I guess we should always remember to wash our hands every time we think about it!

Posted by Michelle about 1 year ago

That is interesting, I have avoided the news lately but will continue washing my hands!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Thank you, Healthy Bear.  I have always been very good about washing my hands, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded.  Will you please wear the Healthy Bear costume to one of our sales meetings?

Posted by Francie Little (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Francie it's funny but I wrote this post several months ago and it's just as important now as we head into the winter monthhs! BYW I did wear it to the office a couple of years ago and it caused a bit of an uproar! I might try and do it again this year!!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

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