2010-12-23 / Features

Have A Safe And Healthy Holiday

Social calendars will soon be booked with holiday festivities with colleagues and friends and family. But oftentimes, uninvited guests join the party – germs.

Germs can take many nasty forms, causing everything from seasonal colds and flu to contaminated holiday foods.

“Germs can ruin that holiday cheer,” says Dr. Allison Aiello, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and member of SCA’s Tork Green Hygiene Council. “A sore throat, cough, runny nose, fever or body aches can be signs of the flu and should be treated properly, but unfortunately, many people don’t avoid contaminating others.”

Follow these holiday hygiene tips to enjoy the holiday season in style while staying healthy:

Spread Cheer, Not Germs. Cold and flu germs are spread through airborne droplets from the mouth and nose that can easily be transferred to others. These droplets also land on surfaces that can remain contaminated for several hours, which guests can touch and be exposed without knowing.

Whether you come in contact with sick individuals or common surfaces, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating or touching your eyes or nose. Dry hands thoroughly with a single-use paper towel and then immediately throw it away to avoid cross contamination.

Be Smart, Keep Foods Apart. As you prepare holiday meals, keep you and your guests safe from food related illness. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces. Cook foods to the proper temperature. Refrigerate promptly and do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.

Beware of the Buffet. Calories are not the only things lurking at the buffet table; germs live there too. Be a good guest by not snacking directly from the buffet or dipping vegetables or chips directly into a dish. Hosts can also help reduce contamination by making individual plates and not leaving food out in the open where germs from the occasional cough or sneeze can land.

Keep Tableware Germ- Free. Avoid fanning out decorative napkins. Instead, save table space and keep guests from transferring germs by providing a napkin dispenser. For example, Tork Xpressnap, the leading tabletop napkin dispenser in the restaurant industry, is now available for the home. The uniquely designed containers dispense napkins individually so guests take only the one they touch. Plus, the photo slots on each side of the dispenser let you create designs to fit everyday or special occasions.

Hibernate If You’re Not Healthy. If you do get sick, be good to yourself and stay home. While no one wants to miss the party, taking care of yourself is the best thing – for you and your loved ones. And who knows, with a box of tissues and your favorite DVDs, staying home might be just what the doctor ordered!

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