3 tips for a germ-free home
With temperatures dropping, sunlight diminishing and winds whipping, we’ll be spending more and more time inside our homes—and exposed to germs. While some germs help your bodies build up resistance, some of them can make you sick.
Germs that cause food borne illnesses are especially common in the household. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food-borne illnesses such as salmonella, listeria and some types of E. coli sicken about 48 million Americans a year.
But you can fight back. A recent article by Erinn Bucklan outlines steps you can take to help keep harmful germs out of your home.
- Arrange your fridge carefully – Raw meat can carry harmful bacteria. The Center for Science in Public Health recently reported that chicken and ground beef are the most susceptible to causing illness. When storing raw meat in your fridge, double-bag the meats or place them on a plate at the bottom of your fridge. The key is to keep the raw meat, and its juices, away from the foods that you eat raw so that they don’t become contaminated.
- Put down the lid before flushing – Toilet flushing causes bacteria to disperse into the air. If you put the lid down before you flush, you minimize the amount of germs that float into the air. Keeping your toothbrush and hand towels as far away as possible from the toilet will also help you spread less germs.
- Take your shoes off at the front door – Your shoes can bring harmful germs and chemicals. Pollen, pesticides and salmonella in bird droppings can all be carried into your home from your shoes. A University of Arizona study showed that as many as nine different pathogens can survive on shoes. If you leave your shoes at the front door, the less likely those pathogens will be carried around your home.
“Try to disinfect high traffic surfaces, such as kitchen counters and doorknobs, a couple times a week,” Dr. Malow says. “Make sure you wash your hands properly by rubbing your hands with clean water and soap for 20 to 30 seconds. Rinse and dry your hands using a clean towel.”
Dr. Malow says that cleaning and hand hygiene can remove the conditions that help germs grow and also help prevent germs from spreading.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.