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Kaylor: Stop germs with proper hand-washing

October 17, 2014
Carolee Kaylor - Nutrition Program Assistant , Pierce County Tribune

When the weather cools, people stay indoors more often. The number of colds and flu-like symptoms begin to increase at this time of year. Did you know that proper hand washing is the single most important way to help prevent the spread of illness?

When should you wash your hands?

Before, during and after preparing food

Before eating food

After using the toilet

After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

Before and after caring for someone who is sick

After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

After touching an animal or cleaning up after a pet

After touching garbage

Before and after treating a cut or wound

Quick quiz:

What are the three "ingredients" you need to wash your hands?

Answer: Warm running water, soap and a way to dry your hands (clean towel, air dryer)

Is hand sanitizer a substitute for hand washing?

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to clean your hands. If water is not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol. Be sure to read the directions to see how much to use. Rub the sanitizer all over your hands and between your fingers until your hands are dry.

Four proper hand-washing steps

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. (People often reach for the soap before wetting their hands.)

2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of hands, between fingers and under nails. Continue rubbing for at least 20 seconds. Sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice to time yourself.

3. Rinse your hands well under running water.

4. Dry your hands using a clean towel, paper towel or an air dryer.

Q: My kids only eat prepackaged fruits and veggies for snacks. Do these snacks need to be washed before my kids eat them? - Read your way to food safety. Giving your kids healthful snacks is a big plus for them, but just because produce is wrapped doesn't always mean it's ready to eat as is. Read the label of your product to make sure it is says: "ready-to-eat," "washed" or "triple washed." If it does, you're good to go. If it doesn't, wash your hands and then rinse the fruits or vegetables under running, cool tap water. Scrub firm items, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce germs that may be present.

Quick Chicken and Vegetable Soup

1 (16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, reduced sodium

1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth, reduced sodium*

1 medium onion, chopped

1 c. chopped, cooked chicken

1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn)

1/4 tsp. thyme, optional

1/8 tsp. pepper

(* You can make your own broth with bouillon and water.)

Add tomatoes and broth to pot. Heat to boiling, then add chopped onion. Simmer about five minutes or until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients, cover pan and cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender and chicken is heated through.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 140 calories, 1.5 grams (g) fat, 16 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber and 370 milligrams sodium.

This recipe, courtesy of the Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program, is a great way to use leftover cooked/baked/grilled chicken. The cost per serving is less than $1.

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, Food Wise

 
 

 

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