Just as the human body functions all day and night, so do germs that surround us.
Germs are all-pervasive and can be found everywhere – in the air we breathe, the things we touch, and the food we eat. Though the human body is equipped to fight most microbes, a body with a weak immune system may be unable to fight them off. This can lead to the spread of diseases and illnesses.
Germs are microscopic living organisms that enter the human body and use up all its essential nutrients. The toxins which they produce lead to a plethora of allergies, including high fevers, coughs, diarrhoea, and so on. Food poisoning is also a common problem – it is caused through unhygienic and contaminated food items, food that is not processed properly, reheated meat products, and cross-contamination between raw and ready-to-eat products.
Some of the most common forms of microbes include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa.
Germs hate hygiene
Even though we may want to create a germ-free world for ourselves and our children, this is not possible. As upsetting as it may seem, the truth is that we don’t even have to step out of our house to become susceptible to germs! Our homes – especially, the kitchen – are often the most inviting breeding grounds for harmful microbes that are not visible to the naked eye. This makes them even more dangerous.
Want to scare away those bad guys [germs] from your body and your home? Use your most effective ammunition – hygiene to fight them off.
Germs can’t thrive in clean surroundings
To control and combat the spread of harmful disease-causing germs, each us must maintain high levels of hygiene, personally and in our surroundings.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before handling, cooking, or eating food
- Always eat hygienically-prepared food
- Reduce and control the spread of microbes and bacterial action in food that often leads to food poisoning
- Use simple, yet effective food preservation techniques:
- Refrigeration and freezing of food items such as meat, vegetables, and fruits
- Heating food, or cooking, thoroughly to kill microbes
- Blanching and canning.
Simple hygiene tips
- Wash your hands, wrists, and fingers, thoroughly after using the bathroom, before cooking/eating food, and after coming back home from the outdoors
- Use a tissue while sneezing, or coughing, and get into the habit of disposing off the used tissues into the dustbin immediately
- Have a good bath everyday and keep your body clean
- Teach your children the importance of hygienic living and its essentials.
Kitchen, the heart of your home
Let’s say you have taken care of both your personal hygiene and the hygiene of your food items. Do you think you are now safe from germs at home? Not really! This is because you have failed to pay attention to the most important and often neglected part of your home – the kitchen. Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen is undoubtedly the most preferred abode for germs.
Kitchen ventilation and exhaust
- Keep the kitchen well-ventilated and airy with plenty of natural and artificial light
- Use good quality nets on the doors and windows to prevent flies and other insects from entering the kitchen
- Install an effective chimney and exhaust fan to provide an outlet to the smoke while cooking.
Store your kitchen essentials and food items in air-tight containers to keep them fresh and safe from insects.
- Keep your kitchen dry
- Clear clogged drains immediately and clean them properly as this is the area that is most susceptible to bacteria and germs
- Get those faulty and leaking taps fixed. Remember, moisture invites germs and propagates their spread
- Sweep and mop the kitchen floor with a good disinfectant [phenyl], mixed in water
- Store your kitchen essentials and food items in air-tight containers to keep them fresh and safe from insects.
Clean kitchen surface
- Wipe and clean all kitchen surfaces — platforms, cabinet tops, counter tops, cutting boards, table tops and work area regularly, before and after use
- Use disinfectant spray or wipes on sink faucets, refrigerator handles, stove handles, cupboard handles, trashcans, doorknobs, and any other area that you touch with your hands
- Wipe the stove after cooking and remove any food particles that may have fallen on and around the stove to avoid attracting ants, flies, cockroaches.
The person responsible for cooking food must understand the importance of maintaining hygiene from the moment they enter the kitchen, till the time when cooking is done.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and put on a clean apron before working in the kitchen
- Sneeze or cough, if at all, into a hanky, or tissue, and do not touch your body when cooking or handling food items
- Don’t leave your hair loose during cooking. Tie it up and put it back to avoid hair from falling/getting in the food
- Cook all food items thoroughly, especially meat/meat products
- Wash vegetables, fruits and other items with clean, filtered water before cooking them
- Keep all food items properly covered in the fridge
- Check expiry dates and throw away leftovers, if they are old and do not smell right.
Many a time, objects meant for cleaning the kitchen actually contribute in spreading harmful germs. Always use different cloths for different purposes. Sometimes, it is better to use disposable cloth rather than using the same cloth every day. Avoid the use of sponge, as far as possible. Your kitchen should be a place of pride and delight. It should welcome you each day without any worry of germs, diseases, or poor hygiene.