Germ Warfare at Home

5 tips to help you avoid getting that last, nasty winter cold

To Your Health

Germ Warfare at Home

5 tips to help you avoid getting that last, nasty winter cold

-Brittany Fening

handwashingThe season of flurries and plush winter coats is upon us, but where cold, winter winds blow, germs are quick to follow. How to best protect yourself and your family from catching a cold this time of year?

Try these five simple habits and leave all those nasty germs in the dust.

Wash your hands. I know you’ve heard this one dozens of times before, but it really works. Throughout the day, we come into contact with more germs than we’d ever want to know about. Handshakes, doorknobs, countertops, cell phones (I could go on, but I think you get the picture) are all are crawling with germs that spread from person to person. Basically, germs are everywhere. Washing your hands helps to prevent the spread of bacteria, parasites, viruses and other microbes that can add up to all different kinds of illness.

Be careful how you dry them. After washing our hands, many of us then dry off with a towel–big mistake. While washing your hands is a great way to fight germs, turning around and wiping them on a communal towel is like taking one step forward and two steps back. Though they can serve as a cute decoration in your kitchen or bathroom, these fluffy towels are crawling with all sorts of germs. Your best bet? Try paper towels.

When you’re not near a sink, hand sanitizer is your next best option. Slip a travel-size bottle of sanitizer into your purse for anytime accessibility. When choosing hand sanitizer, the FDA recommends a gel with a concentration of 60 to 95 percent alcohol.

Watch that trash can–it harbors more microbes than you can even imagine. Whether cooking, cleaning or simply throwing a little something away, when touching a trash can, our hands can become completely contaminated without us even realizing it. “Smart” trash cans are the perfect way to avoid this, they open and close automatically due to infrared technology. With an easy swipe of your hand, this no-muss, no-fuss trash can opens, and your hands can stay germ free.

Hit the bleach. This basic cleaner is a great disinfectant. Many viruses and bacteria are transferred from person to person by frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as counters, doorknobs and light switches. To clean around the house, Clorox recommends using ¾ cup of bleach per every gallon of water, and rinsing the surface or object afterward.

So, this winter, remember–adopting any of these habits can help you cruise into spring with a healthier family and a cleaner home.

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0 thoughts on “Germ Warfare at Home

  1. Great article, Brittany! The thing about towels, though, is that constantly using paper towels isn’t exactly “green.” Why don’t we invest in a stock pile of not-so-fancy-and-chic actual towels (*waves at Costco*) and change them out frequently, if not daily, so they don’t harvest all the germs?

  2. good reminder! so often if I HAVE to use a public restroom I cringe. How many times have I been in a stall, heard a toilet flush, then the door open with out that critical hand washing stop in between? YUCK! Thanks for reminding people that hand washing is so important!

  3. Communal towels are fine and green.

    A neat trick I learned is just wet the towel and microwave it for 1-2 minutes or until its piping hot. Kills all the germs and removes the odor. Make it part of your cleaning routine while wiping down the kitchen.

    Works well for sponges too. Just wet everything first.

  4. There is of course the reasonable argument that over sanitising can be counter productive long term.

    Over use of bleaching and constant hygiene checking of your life in this manner only serves to leave the immune system open.

    Whilst I am not advocating squalor, I am encouraging common sense…

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