How to keep germs off your holiday guest list
Visiting family and friends can be one of the most joyous parts of the holiday season, but getting there isn’t always quite as pleasant. While crowded airports and streets clogged with traffic are the most obvious obstacles to avoid, don’t forget about the pesky germs that come with the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
“Performing hand hygiene using soap and water or alcohol hand rubs is the number one thing you can do to avoid the spread of germs,” says Teresa Chou, manager of Infection Prevention and Control at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “Rather than waiting until you can get to a sink to wash with soap and water, carry a mini bottle of hand sanitizer with you so it’s handy whenever you need it.”
With all the excitement that comes with the fun of holiday activities like parties and shopping, it can be easy to brush off even your usual hand hygiene routine.
“It’s likely that public surfaces, and even surfaces in your home if you’re the holiday host, will have an increased number of germs during this time,” says Chou. “This makes your usual, basic hand hygiene routine even more important. Don’t forget to clean your hands after using the bathroom, before you eat and before you prepare food.”
In addition to the surfaces mentioned above, Chou also recommends sanitizing after:
- Coughing and sneezing into your hands and wiping your nose or mouth
- Changing diapers or other child care activities
- Touching your steering wheel – sanitizing the wheel itself in addition to your hands can also help prevent the spread of germs
- Shopping – lots of holiday shoppers means lots of hands on the same items you’re touching
- Riding in a train, bus or cab – close quarters on public transportation can increase the spread of germs. Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes in all areas.
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