Holiday Food Safety

Avoid the Flu: Watch What You Touch!

HandwashingDid you know the average person touch about 30 objects every minute? In the same time span, we touch our faces five times. Everything you touch puts you at risk of picking up illness-causing germs and bacteria, especially during cold and flu season. The problem is that we all touch a lot of things every day, and most of us don’t have the time or access to wash our hands after everything we touch.  However, being more aware of what we touch can help us recognize the need to wash our hands (or use sanitizer if running water isn’t accessible.)

  1. Avoid touching your face when your hands are dirty. This one is tough, because we often have an itch or move hair out of our faces without even realizing what we’re doing. Try to clean your hands first.
  2. Beware of menus. Lots of people touch menus at restaurants, but they are not often sanitized. Wash your hands after you’re done with the menu, but before your food arrives.
  3. Don’t order a fruit slice in your drink. Studies have found that 70% of lemon slices harbor disease-causing bacteria. Those slices contained everything from fecal matter to germs commonly fruit in drinkfound in saliva. Avoid the fruit slices to reduce your risk of getting sick.
  4. Watch out for condiment dispensers. A lot of people touch their mouths then touch condiment dispensers. Use a napkin to pick up those dispensers.
  5. Use a towel to open restroom doors. You might be obsessive about washing your hands after using the restroom, but some people don’t go near the sink. Use paper towels to turn off sink faucets and open restroom doors. Bring some hand sanitizer with you in case there are no paper towels.
  6. Wipe down that shopping cart. Many grocery store chains now offer free sanitizer wipes next to their shopping carts for a reason. Studies have discovered bacteria including e. Coli on shopping carts. They’re provided for free, so use the wipes. And wash your hands when you’re done at the supermarket.
  7. At the doctor’s office? Don’t touch that! Most doctor’s offices provide magazines for you to read while you wait and pediatricians usually have toys for the kids. Remember, many of the people who are also reading those magazines or playing with those toys are sick. Bring your own reading and play material.
  8. Watch out for hand rails. Just think about how many people touch the hand rails on public staircases and escalators. Your best bet is to keep a sanitizer wipe in your purse or wallet, and pull it out as soon as you’ve made it up or down those stairs or escalators.
  9. Handwashing 5 stepsWash your hands often. While you can do your best to avoid the eight things above, the best thing to do is wash your hands frequently. As a reminder:
  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

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