Tag Archives: germs

Healthy Holiday Tips

‘Tis the Season to Be Merry and Healthy with Healthy Holiday Tips!

If you’re not careful navigating the holidays, you can easily get sick and ruin your plans. Assist America, our emergency travel assistance partner, has healthy holiday tips to keep you healthy while traveling this holiday season.

From getting all of your last-minute holiday shopping done, to decorating the house, attending holiday events, and packing to visit family, the holidays can take a toll on your immune system. The changing weather and cold temperatures can also affect your health, and whether you travel by car, train, or plane, you may be in contact with germs that you’re not used to. Taking these easy steps can help protect you.

Before Travel

  1. First and foremost, get your flu shot.

    Getting your flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. While flu season begins in late October, it usually peaks from December to February. Crowded places where people are close to each other a stretch of time, like shopping malls, airplanes, or trains are prime spots to pick up the flu.

  2. Take a daily vitamin.

    While vitamins may not prevent you from getting sick, taking vitamins and supplements throughout the year can help boost your immune system. Talk to your doctor about which vitamins are best for you, and combine them with a healthy diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats to be your best.

  3. Prepare a travel kit.

    While packing for your trip, prepare a small travel kit. You can include individual disinfectant, alcohol, and antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, a pack of tissues, bandaids, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash. You can also use small plastic bags or a pill organizer to pack your usual vitamins, so you don’t stop taking them while traveling.

During Travel

  1. Watch what you touch.

    Be aware of what you’re touching when you travel. Door and suitcase handles, public bathroom faucets, and money are touched by people all day long. Make sure not to touch your face after touching things like these and wash your hands with soap and water regularly. If you can’t wash your hands, use your hand sanitizer.

  2. Clean your surroundings.

    Tray tables, plane touch-screen monitors and remotes, armrests, restaurant tables, and many other surfaces you touch during your trip are infamous for being covered with germs. Use cleaning or alcohol wipes to clean off these surfaces before you get settled. Then, wash your hands again after using them for extra safety.

  3. Avoid physical contact.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with the flu can spread it to others up to roughly 6 feet away, so while it may be difficult to do in a crowded space, try to avoid close contact with the people around you.

    Once you’re with your loved ones for the holidays, avoid sharing glasses and silverware during meals, and use a strict single-dipping policy.

After Travel

  1. Take a shower as soon as you get to your destination.

    To wash off all the germs you might have been exposed to during your trip, take a well-deserved shower as soon as you get to your family’s or hotel. Change into a clean set of clothes after, and you’ll feel clean, refreshed, and ready to enjoy holiday celebrations!

  2. Eat healthy food.

    We all know too well that the holidays are no time to diet, however, you can be mindful of the types of food you eat. Make room for vegetables and fresh fruits at every meal. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, oranges, pears, and other exotic fruits are all in season in December, and they’re all a great source of healthy vitamins.

  3. Stay hydrated.

    When you’re in an plane, car, or train for a long time, your body can get dehydrated. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of liquids throughout your travel.

    During celebrations, you should also make sure you continue to drink plenty of water in addition to all the alcoholic and sugary drinks you may be tempted by!

 

By taking these few simple steps, you’ll give yourself and your family a better chance at enjoying a germ-free holiday season.

Still, if you do get sick while traveling during the holidays, remember to contact Assist America, our emergency travel assistance partner who is available 24/7 to help you find a qualified doctor near your location or secure prescriptions at a local pharmacy. To talk to an Assist America coordinator, download the Assist America Mobile App or call 1-800-872-1414 or +1-609-986-1234 (outside of the U.S.).

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National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Handwashing Awareness Week

It’s National Handwashing Awareness Week, and washing your hands can significantly reduce the spread of disease.

December is a busy time, and between the rush of the holidays and the weather you are more susceptible to getting sick. Washing your hands can help you avoid germs.

Avoid Holiday Sickness

 

Teaching handwashing to a community can reduce respiratory illnesses in the community, like colds, by 20%.

The Value of Washing Your Hands

 

Know when it matters most to wash! Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before, during, and after making food, and after touching an animal.

When to Handwash

 

If you are sick, washing your hands after you blow your nose, cough, or sneeze can help you avoid spreading it to your loved ones.

Fighting the Spread of Germs

 

You should be washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, and make sure to get under your fingernails.

Dry your hands completely to avoid bacteria. If paper towels are available, they’re better for removing germs.

Drying with Paper Towels

 

If you can’t always wash your hands, hand sanitizer is a great alternative. Buy a small bottle for your purse or pocket.

Hand Sanitizer for Cleanliness

Safe and Green While Cleaning

Green While Cleaning Your Home

Magazines, newspapers, TV, and the internet all remind you to go green whenever possible, at the office, while driving, even at the grocery store.  But what about at home? Do you go green while cleaning?

Even better, do you go green at home and save money while doing so?

Try a non-toxic approach to cleaning your house. Ammonia, bleach, and other toxins can be harmful to you, your children, and your pets. When there are affordable ways to clean all naturally, why not go green in your home?

Green While Cleaning Swaps

Swap these natural cleaning solutions for harsh store-bought chemicals.

To clean countertops and cutting boards

Take hot tap water and mix with vinegar. Dip a nylon scrub pad into the water and scour your countertops and cutting boards. “That’s all you need to remove the bacterial film that even strong disinfectants have trouble penetrating,” says Allen Rathey, president of the Healthy House Institute.

To clean toilets and bathtubs

To combat stains, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the surface and scrub with a brush. To kill germs or mold, spray the surface with a 10% vinegar, 90% water solution, and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with water when finished.

To clean stains, mildew, or grease on tile

Spray or douse the area with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.

To clean mirrors and glass

In a spray bottle, mix a solution of 10% vinegar and 90% water. Spray the dirty glass and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can substitute undiluted lemon juice or club soda.

To clean wood furniture

Barely dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe off dust. If you prefer a shine on your wood furniture, follow dust removal with a soft cloth dabbed with olive or lemon oil.

To remove carpet stains and spills

Lift off any solids, then pour on club soda. Blot with a rag. The soda’s carbonation has the power to bring the spill to the surface, and the salts in the soda prevent and stop staining. For bigger spills, dump cornmeal on the mess, wait 5 to 15 minutes, and vacuum up the gunk.

Keeping Your Kitchen Clean

Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Clean

Keeping Your Kitchen Clean

Most of us would like to think we do a pretty good job of keeping our kitchen clean. Basics like washing countertops, sweeping, and mopping the floor might seem like enough, but other things you might not notice can let germs and bacteria hide in your kitchen. These tips can help you keep it spotless.

Clean the Kitchen Sink and Counters

Your dirty dishes are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and germs are easily spread to your faucet handles. Kitchen counters can also collect germs from everything that touches or passes over them.

A wet dishcloth isn’t enough, it will just move the bacteria around. Use hot water and soap or an antibacterial cleaner often.

Change Sponges and Dishcloths Every Week

These are crawling with bacteria, and can even contain E. coli.

Between uses, make sure they dry completely to stop bacteria from growing. Sponges should go in an upright holder, and dishcloths should be hung up to dry.

Wash Your Cutting Boards in the Dishwasher

Hand-washing with hot water and soap is not always enough to kill germs. And knives create nicks in the surface, which are the perfect place for bacteria to grow. It’s also a good idea to reserve one cutting board for meat and another for fruits and veggies, so you never accidentally contaminate something you’re going to eat raw.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, pour boiling water over the surface after each use.

Wash Reusable Grocery Bags

These can transport germs from the grocery store, and using the same bags to carry raw meat and veggies over and over again can cause bacteria to grow on the bag’s surface.

Wash these bags often, either by hand or on the gentle cycle in your washing machine.

Keep the Microwave Clean

You might forget about your microwave because you can’t always see its messes, but it can collect bacteria from food that spills or splatters. And its heat can let bacteria grow and spread.

Make sure to scrub the outside, the handles, and buttons, as well as the inside.