Lower your exposure to summertime germs
Feature Article- Thu., Jul. 7, 2011
As the summer months bring beautiful weather and many new activities, it’s important to make sure illnesses won’t hamper anticipated plans.
Donna Duberg, a leading hygiene expert, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at Saint Louis University and member of the Tork Green Hygiene Council, says increased activity during the summer could foster the spread of germs. “We all want to take advantage of warmer weather by going outside to swim or having family picnics, but it’s important to be mindful of proper hygiene practices to keep your summer healthy and happy. Keeping small steps in mind – like proper hand hygiene and food safety tips – could prevent unwanted illness.”
To ensure you make the best of your summer, follow Duberg’s suggested tips:
Share fun, not your towel
Swimming is a refreshing summertime activity, but it’s important that each member of your family be allotted their own bathing towel. Wet towels harbor germs, and exchanging them among each other can spread unwanted bacteria. Give your kids their own special summer towel in a design or color they love so they can easily distinguish which towel belongs to them.
Don’t let your picnic turn sour
Picnics are a popular perk of summer, but warmer weather allows bacteria to grow more easily on food. The CDC indicates that one in six people will suffer from a foodborne illness. To protect against an unfortunate sickness, make sure you carefully handle food and minimize contaminants, and keep the following tips in mind:
• Before eating or cooking, thoroughly clean all surface areas before placing food on them.
• Place all raw meat in foil and store it away from any ready-to-eat items.
• Sufficiently cook all meat. According to the CDC, cooking meat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit can help kill harmful bacteria.
• If you’re heading to an area that doesn’t have handwashing stations, bring anti-bacterial hand sanitizer.
• Sufficiently cover all food and eating utensils to protect from insects that carry harmful bacteria.
• Stock your picnic with plenty of recycled paper napkins, plates and cups to limit the spread of bacteria.
Stay on the road to healthy living
If you’re planning a family trip this summer, be sure to keep hygiene top of mind when visiting washrooms along your route. Germs can be found anywhere, from rest stops to hot dog stands to airport restrooms. When washing your hands in a facility that contains recycled paper towels, you can also use the paper towel to open door handles to keep your newly clean hands as germ-free as possible. If you visit a washroom with a hot air dryer, make sure to dry your hands thoroughly. According to recent research from SCA, a global hygiene and paper company, only 57 percent of hot air dryer users keep their hands under the dryer until they are completely dry. Failure to dry hands properly is a dangerous habit, as wet hands transfer 500 times more germs than dry hands.
Beware of bacteria at food fests
Summer food fests can be lots of fun, but when large crowds are involved, hygiene protection becomes more difficult. One way to keep your food fests fun is to consistently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you take a bite out of your favorite snack. With food and money rapidly changing hands throughout the gathering, you could be faced with an excess of germs that can make you sick.
Take a trip to the nearest handwashing station or restroom to thoroughly wash and dry your hands to make the most of your outdoor social experience.
For more hand hygiene and sustainability tips from Duberg and the Tork Green Hygiene Council, visit www.torkgreenhygienecouncil.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content