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Health

7 Ways to Avoid Germy Threats

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While keeping up healthy habits is often top of mind, when you’re super busy with taking care of your family or with work, it can be easy to accidentally slip up. Actions as small as the way you cough or how you wash your hands could have a big impact on how you ultimately feel. Watch our video, read below, and keep the following hygiene don’ts in mind so you do continue to stay in good health.

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DON’T: Touch your face. You may not realize it, but you may be touching your face more than you think. In fact, the average person touches their face 23 times in an hour, making it extremely easy for germs to enter your body.

DO: Keep your hands busy. It may be tough to break that face-touching habit, but it’s not impossible. Keep a fidget spinner or a stress ball close by to use any time you’re tempted to touch your face. Of course, there will be times where you’ll need to scratch your nose or get a piece of hair out of the way. When that happens, use a clean tissue to touch your face or after washing your hands with soap and water.

DON’T: Use baby wipes to clean your hands/surfaces. Most baby wipes, which are designed with delicate skin in mind, do not contain alcohol and therefore do not kill germs.

DO: Use disinfecting wipes or soap and water. As convenient as baby wipes are for wiping down crumb-covered surfaces or fingers, they aren’t the same as disinfecting wipes, and they aren’t a substitute for washing your hands with soap and water or, if you’re on the go, using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

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DON’T: Ignore your phone. Think back to the last time you cleaned your phone. Now think of everywhere your phone’s been since you last wiped it down. If your phone’s harboring bacteria, it can easy transfer onto your hands or onto your kid’s hands if you use your phone for some emergency screen time.

DO: Safely clean your electronics. While you can’t wash your phone the way you wash your hands, wipe it down with a cleaning solution that contains at least 70 percent alcohol (same goes for other electronics). There are some cleaning solutions especially formulated for your devices, but rubbing alcohol works just fine.

DON’T: Leave your hands damp.Raise your (damp) hand if you’re guilty of giving your hands a quick flick after washing them or a quick rub on a towel instead of properly drying them. When your hands are wet, germs can move more easily to and from your hands.

DO: Dry them completely.Take a few extra seconds to dry them off fully after washing them.

DON’T: Overlook the little things you touch the most when cleaning around the house.You’ve got your routine down for cleaning every nook and cranny of the bathroom, but it’s important to regularly disinfect every surface you touch, including things like light switches and remotes. These high-touch areas can harbor a lot of germs.

DO: Disinfect all high-touch surfaces regularly.Get in the habit of wiping them down—along with other frequently touched surfaces like fridge handles, cabinet doors, and stovetop knobs—the same as you do with your counters and sinks.

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DON’T: Forget to wash your hands after petting or feeding your pet. As cute as the family pet is, you should wash your hands after cuddle time. Who knows what Fifi has gotten into (and what she’s carrying on her fur)? Additionally, pet food and the bowl can carry germs.

DO: Wash up after you’ve interacted with your pet. You should also wash your hands after feeding your pet or giving them treats, and because young children still have developing immune systems (and the tendency to put unidentified objects in their mouths), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends only kids 5 and up feed pets.

DON’T: Cough or sneeze into your hands. It might feel instinctual to bring your hands to your mouth when you cough or sneeze. But while coughing into your fist or sneezing into your cupped hands might seem like you’re blocking germs, it could actually lead to spreading more germs once you touch stuff with your now-germy hands.

DO: Use your elbow or a tissue. Instead of your hands, use a tissue(and throw it out after—don’t tuck it into your bag to find later), or if you don’t have one, use your upper sleeve. Then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Don’t have soap and water? Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

DON’T: Lick your fingers when you eat.While licking your fingers clean might be convenient (and tasty—we all know scraping the chip dust off your fingers is the best part of eating chips), it’s better to abstain, especially if you touched anything before or while you were eating. Think about it: If you check your texts or picked a toy up off the floor, any germs on your phone or the floor are now on your hands.

DO: Wash your hands after you cook and before you eat.And try not to touch other things besides your silverware while you’re eating.