With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s time to kick it into full health mode so that the Jack Frost doesn’t nip ya! Just think of the bathroom as the Scrooge of the household, wanting to spread the germy, bah humbugs to keep us down. Here are seven tips to help keep bathrooms germ-free and help us stay in tip-top shape this season:
1. Resist the urge to do holiday shopping on the toilet
Try to avoid scrolling through Amazon to find the perfect gift for Grandma while using the loo. Nowadays, it’s very common to check apps like Twitter and Pinterest while on the toilet, but we might want to think twice (or three times) about doing that. Gabrielle Union, famous actress turned health guru, says “Germs, including fecal matter, are released into the air and can land on those surfaces, leading them to spread outside the bathroom.” So, try to make the bathroom a phone-free zone. Those winter wonderland Pinterest boards can wait.
2. Get your money’s worth with that candy cane-scented soap
Dr. Chuck Gerba, Ph.D., a professor of environmental microbiology at University of Arizona, explains, “Properly washing your hands is the most cost-effective and efficient way to avoid catching colds.” Make sure that we spend at least 20 seconds scrubbing those hands, so we can’t bring those germs with us when we’re finished. Hum the Happy Birthday song twice as a timer.
3. Lose the festive bar soap
We know our secret Santa got us the most adorable spa day gift basket, complete with foot scrubs, bath bombs and the best-smelling bar of soap ever. But remember, this basket is for us only. Yes, germs can grow on bar soaps and spread if used by more than one person.
4. Close that snowman seat cover before flushing
Feel free to light that pine-scented candle after taking care of business, but before you rid the evidence of mom’s holiday cooking, remember to put down that lid. Bathrooms weren't really designed for the health of its user, so the odds are the sink is right next to the toilet. We don’t even want to know all the germs that live in the toilet bowl. Gerba explains how toilet water can reach six feet from the bowl itself when flushing occurs, making its way to our toothbrush.
5. Don’t forget to sanitize with that pumpkin spice hand sanitizer
We know it’s important to wash our hands often, but soap and water are not always readily available. Hand sanitizer does not replace hand washing, but can go a long way in and out of the bathroom. “It creates a barrier on hands so that contamination beyond the bathroom does not continue." says Gerba. A University of Connecticut study states that air dryers can disperse bacteria throughout the room, even on freshly washed hands. Sometimes there is no choice in public restrooms but to use those air dryers, even more of a reason to have that hand sanitizer as our little helper.
6. Try to use the reindeer hand towels as decorations only
It’s unlikely that our bathroom at home has a disposable paper towel dispenser like public restrooms use. Paper towels are better at controlling the spread of germs than fabric types we keep in the bathroom, says Gerba. Having one of the dispensers installed in our home would probably not be very practical or environmentally friendly. Just try to wash hand and face towels weekly, even more often when the family comes to town.
7. Take off those mittens and use the back of your hands
Unless you plan on washing those gloves inter-mitten-tly (see what we did there?), make sure to put them away before entering and leaving the bathroom. Use the back of your hands as much as you can to avoid getting unwanted bacteria on your fingertips and palms, that likely come in contact with your mouth and eyes.
It’s hard to stay healthy this time of year, so gobble up these tips to escape sickness and being a Grinch this holiday season.
Richard Harris is the owner of Flushed With Pride, worldwide distributor for the antimicrobial Sani-Hani Toilet Seat Lifter. For more information, call 972-638-0504 or visit SaniHani.com.
For more stories like this read Natural Awakenings Dallas-Ft Worth magazine at NADallas.com