So you survived Black Friday? Here are some tips to help survive the rest of the season

Monday, December 2, 2013

We trust you survived your Black Friday and Small Business Saturday shopping experiences OK, and may be thinking about making a few online purchases to take advantage of today's Cyber Monday specials.

Before you get too comfortable, however, consider the results of a study that determined the 10 germiest places in your home.

NSF International scientists took 660 tests on 30 surfaces in 22 homes to measure levels of yeast, mold, coliform bacteria (including salmonella and E. coli) and staph germs like the ones that can cause dangerous MRSA infections.

Cell phones and the computer keyboard you will use to make those online purchases either weren't included or didn't make the cut, but the list of those that did is enough to give one pause.

They include, in reverse, David Letterman style:

10. Cutting boards

9. Stove knobs

8. Kitchen counters

7. Pet toys

6. Faucet handles

5. Coffee makers

4. Pet bowls

3. Toothbrush holders

2. Kitchen sinks

And, drumroll please:

1. Dish sponges/rags

The researchers offered various common-sense cleaning tips, from scrubbing with soap, water and mild bleach to running vinegar through your coffee maker, running through the hot cycle in the dishwasher or clothes washer to microwaving wet sponges once a day for two minutes and replacing at least once every two weeks.

You can check out the original report here: http://bit.ly/IApijm

That takes care of your environment, to a point, but the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department has a message a little closer to the vest -- or at least on the end of your arms.

SWNPHD is observing National Handwashing Awareness Week from Dec. 1-7 with simple messages and simple actions.

It's a useful reminder as we go through the holiday season, spending more time in confined spaces and exposed to the latest version of colds or flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these tips for avoiding common and serious diseases, reminds Tami Herskowitz, SWNPHD Surveillance Nurse.

"By frequently washing your hands, you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, contaminated surfaces, or from animals and animal waste. Practicing the four principles of Hand Awareness behaviors developed by Dr. Will Sawyer will help you stay healthy this winter."

1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.

2. DO NOT cough into your hands.

3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.

4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth. (T-ZONE)

Just a reminder to everyone on the correct way of washing hands:

1. Wet hands with warm water and use soap.

2. Rub your hands together, making sure to scrub all areas.

3. Rub for a minimum of 20 seconds or sing "Happy Birthday."

4. Rinse thoroughly, then dry hands on a clean towel.

5. Turn faucet off with the towel, not hands, to prevent recontamination.

More information is available at http://www.swhealth.ne.gov/ or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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