I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a germaphobe, I probably wash my hands 15 times a day. But after reading this post, you might become one too!
We all think that the loo is the most unsanitary place there is, but truth be told your handbag potentially holds far more harmful germs than even a toilet. Eeeack!
So how can we limit unsanitary habits and defend our health at the same time? Here are some tips:
REPLACE SPONGES AND LOOFAHS
If you want your bath or shower to be a hygienic space, a place where you can genuinely get clean, you will need to clean and replace all wash cloths, sponges, nets, and loofahs regularly. These handy scrubbing tools have grooved and porous surface areas, which means that all the dead skin you are scrubbing off gets trapped in these spaces. The bacteria which are naturally present on the dead skin start to multiply and before you know it these accessories become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
Scrubbing down with these infected accessories means that we deposit staph, strep, and other pathogens on the surface of the skin. Play it safe and replace your bath-time accessories regularly – natural loofas should be replaced once a month and the plastic versions every two months. If you’re using a wash cloth, consider throwing it in the washing machine every day.
Our lips come into contact with so many different surfaces on a daily basis, for example, you drink your coffee, kiss your partner goodbye, then you kiss your kids goodbye, you grab some breakfast, you brush your teeth, you wipe your face on a towel and then apply your favorite lipstick. By this time you have already exposed your lips to hundreds of germs which all land up on the surface of that lipstick you have just applied.
Wipe your lipsticks on a tissue or with an alcohol swab prior to and after using them. Apparently it’s best to replace lipsticks every year, and try not to share them with your friends. Never use a store tester directly onto your own lips without cleaning it.
Our handbags go everywhere with us from the restaurant floor to the kitchen countertop, and then even the bathroom floor. Because of this, our beautiful bags have become a hiding ground for germs and bacteria.
A study conducted in the UK found that 20 percent of women’s handbags were covered with bacterial levels higher than toilet seats and toilet handles! So, what can you do to make good of a bad situation? Wipe your bag down with an antibacterial agent at least once a week (or leather cleaner if necessary). Also avoid putting your bag down in places such as the bathroom or toilet, rather choose to hang it on the hook often provided. For other places like restaurants, buy your own hangbag hook.
Remember that most hand or baby wipes are very bad for the environment. Try to get biodegradable wipes like the ones we recommend below. Or use an environmentally-friendly cleanser with a cloth.
DEBUG YOUR PHONE
Our cell phones are often the first thing we reach for in the morning and the last thing we put down at night. Some people (in my household) even take their device into the loo with them. But let’s think… when last did you last clean your phone? Cell phones have been found to be contaminated with the flu virus, pinkeye, diarrhoea-causing germs, you name it! And besides, it’s bad for your skin to have a dirty item held against it. Your best option is to wipe down your phone surfaces with mini alcohol pads, antibacterial wipes or with a cloth and cleaning agent. Try to get into the habit of sanitizing your phone daily. Also pay attention to items such as TV remote controls which are often touched but never cleaned.
I eat at my desk all the time and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Numerous studies have shown that office desks and keyboards are riddled with bacteria and viruses that can lead to illness. Women were found to generally have cleaner desks than their male counterparts but sadly even the cleanest was not clean enough.
It’s tricky not to look like a weirdo in an open-plan office – but discreetly take a few seconds each day to wipe down your work area. Focus on high-contact areas such as the phone, keyboard, and mouse. This is particularly important if you feast at your desk.
WASH YOUR HANDS
By now you are completely freaked out, you are considering becoming obsessed with germs and sanitation and the local pharmacy may not have enough stock of anti-bacterial wipes!
It is just as important however to be washing your hands throughout the day. I’ve always thought that hot water is best, but it turns out washing them with cold or lukewarm water works just as well as hot water. According to a new US study published in the Journal of Food Protection, we need to lather our hands with soap for at least 10 seconds to remove bacteria. Rinsing is in addition to this time. 10 seconds is a lot longer than you think, count to 10 next time you wash your hands.
Interestingly the study also found that people who regularly used lotion on their hands had fewer bacteria after washing than those who didn’t, possibly because moisturizing can help repair dry and damaged skin that’s more difficult to clean.
If you’re on the go, you can substitute with hand sanitizer.
Of course, one can go overboard. Exposure to some harmless dirt, especially to children, is said to be good for the development of a healthy immune system.
A good immune system is not built overnight. Our body is constantly fighting unseen battles to avoid sickness. Boost your immune system by considering the following ways to ensure that your body can fight back:
– Super Immune Support Infusion Cocktail (very popular in Hollywood at the moment, I’m yet to try it)
– Pre and Probiotics to fight off illness from inside the gut
– A multivitamin to boost your body’s health and immunity
– Nutraceutical supplementation as recommended by your health care doctor.
SOME PRODUCT SUGGESTIONS
1. Metagenics PhytoMulti Capsules, with phytonutrients that have been scientifically proven to protect the cells and support the stability of your body’s DNA. R690. BUY
2. Zeiss Lens Wipes 32’s, biodegradable, great for your phone, computer, glasses etc. R59,95. BUY
3. Yorba Organics Surface Sanitizer, certified natural. Great at removing germs and disinfecting without all the harmful chemicals, R85. BUY
4. Metagenics UltraFlora Synergy with pre- and probiotics, a wonderful digestive aid and immune-boosting supplement, R549. BUY
5. Greenman Multi-Purpose Cleaner, a natural product that breaks down heavy-duty organic residue. Use it on anything from glass to Perspex and plastic, or even wood or metal surfaces, R49. BUY
6. Natural Lab Lemongrass Hand Wash, natural, sulphate-free, paraben-free. Perfect for freshening up and banishing germs, R99. BUY
7. String Greens Shower Scrubby, made from bamboo. It’s naturally antibacterial, long-lasting and fully compostable, R230. BUY
8. Pure Beginnings Gentle Bamboo Baby Wipes with Organic Aloe. These wet wipes are 100% biodegradable, made from pure organic bamboo fibre, R49,90. BUY
9. Celltone Germ Fighting Hand Cream, this fantastic non-greasy handcream not only kills germs, it contains an SPF too, R139,95. BUY
10. Rosemary and Sweet Orange Antiseptic Hand Wash, pH balanced and formulated not to dry out your skin so you can wash as often as you need to, R110. BUY
11. Nu-Eco Hand Sanitiser, natural, waterless hand cleansing formula removes dirt, grime and microbes from your skin. A perfect handbag buddy, R39. BUY
For more information on your immune system, therapies and nutraceuticals which can assist you in maintaining your health on a daily basis visit your doctor or Health Renewal.