Perfect Timing for Holidays: Handwashing Awareness Week

Perfect Timing for Holidays: Handwashing Awareness Week

Important Concerns, Especially When Hosting Company

Author: Environmental Health Staff/Friday, December 1, 2017/Categories: Press Release, NEWS

Rate this article:
No rating
With the first week of December being “National Handwashing Awareness Week,” you could almost call it “Holiday Health Preparedness Week.”

But even if the holidays is a good time to remind everyone about hand washing, Will County Health Department Environmental Health Director Tom Casey says that 365 days a year, there are two basic facts.

“Washing your hands is one of the easiest things for an individual to do,” Casey pointed out. “But at the same time, it’s one of the hardest things to enforce and make sure others do it right.” Casey says you need to use warm water with soap, scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (yes, it is true that singing “Happy Birthday” or some other chosen song to yourself can help!), and then rinse with more warm water. But do we often think about how to dry our hands and turn off the faucet?


Casey says the safe, correct way is to dry your hands with a paper towel, and then also to use that paper towel to shut off the faucet. “If you don’t have one of those sensor faucets that starts and stops by itself, you need to remember that the faucet was touched by dirty hands. And you should also use the paper towel to turn the doorknob or push the door when you leave the rest room, as that’s also been touched by dirty hands.”

Holidays are especially a time when hand washing should be done frequently, especially when it comes to big family meals. “You have people coming into the kitchen taste-testing food, kids wanting to help, and all that activity,” Casey explained.
Another important point is to watch for ‘changing tasks.’ “If you are in the kitchen, and what you are doing changes,” said Casey, “then you need to wash your hands again. It could be you were working with raw meat, but now you are working with ready-to-eat salad ingredients. Or if you take out some trash or recycling, or especially if the dog or cat passes through the room and you pet them. All of those are changes in task.”

Casey also says setting the example is of utmost importance. He cited what he and fellow Environmental Health workers do during a food inspection. “We introduce ourselves, tell them what we are doing and why, and then the first thing we do is head for the sink and properly wash our hands. And if during the inspection we do something like touch a greasy handle, or go outside and check something, we immediately wash our hands again.”

Setting the proper example, Casey says, applies in the business as well as in the home. “There’s the managerial aspect. You need to practice what you preach, and set an example for your employees as well as your kids. Let them know what you do and expect them to follow you. Some food establishments have a corporate policy that everyone washes their hands every 15 minutes, just as a precaution.”

As to what other precautions should be taken during holiday get togethers besides being very careful around food; Casey says that more than anything, be aware of what’s going on. “You have closed houses during the cold weather, a lot of people hugging and kissing, food and drinks being passed around; all of that can spread germs. And remember, not everyone will wash their hands as often as they should. So that’s another reason to wash often.”

Finally, Casey says if you are hosting, try to avoid having people use a common towel in both the kitchen and bathroom. In the kitchen, they should use paper towels to dry their hands. In the bathroom, it’s good to have a small stack of individual towels available. And of course, make sure plenty of hand soap is always available.

For more information, go to https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

Number of views (348)/Comments (0)

Tags:
Environmental Health Staff

Environmental Health Staff

Environmental Health
>

Environmental Health

The Will County Environmental Health Department protects public health through programs specifically designed to promote healthy environmental conditions and reduce risks associated with communicable disease.
Health Department Divisions

Authors

Search
Environmental Health News

Illinois Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act

The Illinois Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act (410 ILCS 625), amended by SB1495, passed into law on August 27, 2013, changes the existing training and certification requirements for food safety managers, as well as establishes food handler training requirements. 

 

Salmonella Investigation: Illinois Jimmy John's Asked to Remove Sprouts from Sandwiches

Salmonella Investigation: Illinois Jimmy John's Asked to Remove Sprouts from Sandwiches

Popular Sandwich Chain Identified as Likely Source

Two cases have been identified in Illinois residents. People in Illinois reported becoming ill on December 20 and 26, 2017.
2019 ADOPTION OF THE FDA FOOD CODE

2019 ADOPTION OF THE FDA FOOD CODE

In preparation for the January 1, 2019 adoption of the FDA Food Code to the Illinois Food Service Sanitation Code Will County Health Department food inspectors will be providing information throughout 2018 on the changes food service operations should expect. One significant change is the requirement for a PERSON IN CHARGE (PIC). The Person in Charge shall be the permit holder or designated by the permit holder. The Person in Charge shall be present during all hours of operations. This means that when the permit holder or manager has a day off or leaves the food service establishment they must designate a Person in Charge. The Person in Charge shall demonstrate knowledge of food borne disease prevention, the application of food safety principles and the requirements of the Food Code. Not designating a Person in Charge that is capable of fulfilling the requirements would result in a priority violation that could impact whether the food service establishment will Pass, Pass with Condition or Fail the inspection. During this transition period it is important to obtain training for staff and to implement food safety procedures that all staff are aware of and practice on a routine basis. The permit holder and management team should become familiar with the FDA Food Code. It would be advantageous to create a written standard operating procedure manual. Also, establishing a chain of command to identify the Person(s) in Charge will be one step in ensuring that inspections result with PASS.

 

https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/retailfoodprotection/foodcode/default.htm

Radon Testing Time: A Winter Gift of Convenience

Radon Testing Time: A Winter Gift of Convenience

The Number One Lung Cancer Cause Behind Smoking

Radon is a constant by-product of the decaying of underground Uranium.
Perfect Timing for Holidays: Handwashing Awareness Week

Perfect Timing for Holidays: Handwashing Awareness Week

Important Concerns, Especially When Hosting Company

"Changing tasks" in the kitchen means: Time to Wash Again.
Holiday Food Safety: The Basics and Everything Else

Holiday Food Safety: The Basics and Everything Else

Four Key Areas: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill

There may be some tips that make people say, “Oh, I never thought of that!”
Three More WNV-Positive Mosquito Batches Bring Health Dept's Season Total to 50

Three More WNV-Positive Mosquito Batches Bring Health Dept's Season Total to 50

Total Samples Tested for Year at 216, as We Await First Frost

Positive samples from the Manhattan trap on 9/14, from the Bolingbrook Trout Fish Farm trap on 9/15, and from the Plainfield trap on 9/25.
SIX MORE WNV-POSITIVE MOSQUITO SAMPLES

SIX MORE WNV-POSITIVE MOSQUITO SAMPLES

Mid-September Heat Keeps Mosquito Season Alive and Well

The Will County Health Department operates a total of 12 mosquito traps.
FIRST ILLINOIS HUMAN WNV DEATH OF YEAR IN KANKAKEE COUNTY

FIRST ILLINOIS HUMAN WNV DEATH OF YEAR IN KANKAKEE COUNTY

State Human West Nile Virus Cases and Deaths Way Down this Year

A Kankakee County resident who tested positive for West Nile virus died earlier this month.
AS MOSQUITO SEASON WINDS DOWN, SIX MORE WNV-POSITIVE SAMPLES FOUND

AS MOSQUITO SEASON WINDS DOWN, SIX MORE WNV-POSITIVE SAMPLES FOUND

Health Department Numbers: 41 of 190 Batches Tested were Positive for WNV

So far in 2017, the Health Department has tested 190 mosquito samples, with 41 of them showing positive signs of West Nile Virus
1234