Thursday, February 17, 2011

Protect Yourself From Germs: Stop Germs From Spreading


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the H1N1 Flu Virus, other viruses, and staphylococcus bacteria and e-coli can remain on everyday items that you use and could remain on common items that you use for up to 8 hours or more. As we’ve previously discussed, proper hand washing can help protect you so washing your hands throughout the day is a good practice to implement immediately in your life.
But what about other things that we frequently touch?  Items such as cell phones, regular phones, headsets, rings, credit cards, the pockets of our jeans, TV remote controls, doorknobs, and purses can also be contaminated with germs. Here’s a few helpful tips you can use to further guard yourself and your family members from harmful viruses or bacteria.
To disinfect surfaces in your house you can make your own disinfectant solution by mixing 1 part bleach to 20 parts water. Or,  you may want to purchase some of the pre-packaged antibacterial wipes and use those to wipe off problematic areas in your home. Just be sure to purchase one that says it kills 99.9 percent of germs and viruses.

Here is a list of items you should wipe off on a regular basis with some type of disinfecting solution.
1. Cell phones – According to some studies phones handsets are more contaminated with germs than shoes, door knobs and even toilets.  Even very dangerous germs such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus have been found on cell phone handsets. Do your teenagers carry a cell phone to school with them? And are they setting their cell phone down on the table while they are eating? It may be time to educate your children about the importance of wiping down their cell phones with a pre-packaged product that can help reduce germs on their phones.
 2. Jeans – Who would think that our beloved jeans could harbor harmful bacteria or germs? Items that we touch and/or place in our jeans pockets could possibly be making us sick and we don’t even know it.  Solution: Wash your jeans with the pockets turned inside out in water that is greater than 160 degrees to kill germs.  I also add some tea tree oil to each load in my washing machine as tea tree oil has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
3. Rings – Researchers tell us that if you wear a ring you will have more germs on your hands than someone who does not wear a ring. Consider stepping up the frequency of your hand washing even more if you do wear a rings. Wash underneath and around your ring when washing your hands and make sure to rinse well. You may also want to clean and disinfect your rings once a week with a diluted bleach solution. Check with your ring manufacturer or your jeweler to make sure that you are using a solution or product that does not damage your ring and make sure to rinse your ring completely after washing it.
4. Credit Cards – You hand your credit card to the cashier who is ill and then passes germs back to your card and then to you. If possible, swipe your credit card yourself instead of giving it to the cashier to swipe. When you’re cleaning your rings once a week you can also clean your credit cards with a mild disinfecting solution or antibacterial wipe.
5. Purses – Never, ever place your purse on the bathroom floor.  E-coli can be spread from the simple act of flushing the toilet. Droplets in the air can contain e-coli and these can land on your purse. Hang it up on the stall itself and once a week you should wipe your purses and clean both the inside and outside of your purse with a wipe or spray disinfectant.
Other things in your home to wipe off with some type of disinfecting solution include: door knobs, regular telephone handsets, computer keyboards, and light switches. For items such as computers or cell phones it may be safer to use a disinfecting wipe and to turn off the item before cleaning, and follow any specific safety instructions for the item you are disinfecting.
Being careful with your everyday items can help prevent you from getting the Flu or other dangerous germs or illnesses.  Pass this information along to a friend or family member so that they are protected from the H1N1 virus or germs that may be lurking in places we don’t think about until it’s too late.


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