Those flu bugs are nasty this year, and with so many families spending time together over the holidays, it is likely that you or someone close to you will catch it. The information that crosses my desk about avoiding contagious illnesses is consistent. WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN. Washing your hands at every step in the food preparation process will certainly help from spreading those germs. Whenever you touch your face or hair, or after sneezing or coughing into your hand you will want to wash. Reminding children to wash up after they have been playing outside, or with the family pet is another key.
The correct way to wash hands is to wet them with warm water, lather the soap and rinse; a process that should take around 20 seconds. Make sure you wash the cuticle area and around jewelry especially well.
Keep a clean hand towel near every sink or consider switching to paper towels that can be disposed of. The use of hand sanitizers may sound like a good idea but when we have used our “glow germ” activity we found lots of germs survive the use of such cleansers. The use of warm water and soap works best.
Of course there are some other things you can do to avoid becoming ill. Getting plenty of rest and eating right, (including lots of fruits and vegetables) is a great idea. Make time in your day for some quiet time to reflect and relax. Keeping the stress level down will help promote health. Limit visits with people who have a compromised immune system, especially if you have any symptoms of illness.
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.