Germ-Fighting Strategies

Six ways to stay healthy.
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The objects we touch every day are teeming with germs. Fortunately, you're not very likely to contract a terrible illness merely by touching a faucet or a computer. Preventing bacteria-related illness is largely a matter of using commonsense precautions:

  • Wash, wash, wash. The first line of defense against infection is regular hand-washing -- something we don't do often enough. Scrub well after using the bathroom, changing diapers, handling garbage, before preparing food or eating, and as often as possible when you or a family member is sick.
  • Hands off your face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent bacteria on your fingers from getting inside your body. Wash your hands before handling contact lenses.
  • Clean all cuts. To keep wounds from becoming passageways to infection, wash them well and apply an antibacterial cream or spray. Germs can also get into the bloodstream through cracked, dry skin, so use hand and body lotion, especially in the winter.
  • Dry up. Microbes that thrive in wet environments will die when the water evaporates. Let countertops, sponges, towels, toothbrushes and other surfaces dry between each use.
  • Practice food hygiene. Bacteria can lurk on any food surface. Wash all fruits and vegetables well, and cook meat, poultry and fish until juices run clear.
  • Be paper-trained. Use paper towels instead of sponges (which can harbor bacteria) to wipe kitchen counters and bathroom surfaces. In public rest rooms, use a towel to turn the faucet off after you wash your hands, and another to open the door when you leave, to avoid picking up germs from those surfaces.

 

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