Becoming 'Germ' Smart

Health Tips with Karla Heintz (BSc), Nutrition Educator

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Becoming ‘GERM’ Smart

Its seems almost weekly that we hear of a co-worker or friend who is sick, or have a kid that comes home coughing with a runny nose.  Medical experts agree preschool kids have nine colds per year, kindergartners about 12, and teenagers (and adults), around seven a year.  Wow! And that is just colds.

If there is one thing I want you to take home from this message, it’s that colds and flu’s can be prevented.  Research shows that cold viruses can survive on indoor surfaces for more than seven days, and after 24hrs their ability to cause infection starts to decrease.  Flu Viruses can survive on hard surfaces for 24 hours. 

Just think – if you touch some object that is indeed infected, and then touch your face/mouth, drinking glass etc., you can become infected yourself if your immune system is taking a holiday.  Now we hear the message WASH YOUR HANDS, over and over again and this is exactly why.

As we know handshakes are one of the biggest methods of cold/flu transfer, here are some other places germs live, which rarely get cleaned that we often don’t think about. 

  •  Tea towels, sponges and wash cloths (change these at least weekly)
  •  Vacuum cleaner (spray the brush with a disinfectant after every use)
  •  Weight lifting gloves, as you don’t wash them after each use (solution is to ditch the gloves entirely which will strengthen your grip and forearm strength)
  •  Grocery cart (wipe down the handles with disinfectant which some stores are starting to offer at the entrance)
  •  Lemon wedge in your drink (tell your waiter you will go lemon free)
  •  Restaurant menu’s (try to not let the menu touch your plate or silverware)

Karla Heintz (BSc) Nutrition Educator and Author of

‘Picky! Not Me Mom! A parents’ guide to children’s nutrition.