Summer Guide to Germs
How to avoid spreading germs while you’re having fun
What do you love about summer? Is it the extra time with the kids, fun in the sun away from the office, or an outdoor activity like gardening or camping? Hate to spoil your fun, but guess what – germs still have their way of lounging out by the pool as well. Here are some gross but useful facts for you to stay germ free and happy during your vacation.
Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs:
Shower well before stepping in, and if your child has a diaper, don’t let them swim. Fecal matter may spread E.coli which can cause diarrhea and contrary to popular belief, chlorine does not kill all germs. If the pipes are not cleaned chemically, microbial growth may result at a faster pace. Makeup, sunscreen, hair products and other matter may be swimming in the pool that you’re bathing in. Some people experience skin rashes, so also remember to shower after!
Imagine all the surfaces you touch when you go to your favorite amusement park. Hand rails, door handles, amusement rides, memorabilia, public restrooms, and various surfaces at food courts. Then multiply that by the amount of people attending the park in one day. That’s a lot of contact between many people of all ages who have different immune systems. Remind yourself, and your kids, to wash your hands and avoid touching your face if you’ve been in contact with others.
Just because you’re in nature doesn’t mean germs aren’t. What’s the germiest area at a campground? The showers. Summer heat and humidity help bacteria and fungi multiply and, without knowing how often they’re cleaned by the campground staff, it’s better to be careful. Do not go barefoot in the showers and be mindful of the surfaces you touch before and after you eat at the campground. If you’re using coin-operated showers, vending machines or even touching surfaces of your camper, remember others have touched it as well.
The top summer activity is visiting family and friends, followed by a barbeque. We recommend using wrapped plastic cutlery to avoid germ spread (and to also save on cleanup time!) and remind everyone to wash their hands after using the bathroom. Provide separate spoons and spatulas for food so your guests (including children) don’t grab the food to put on their plates. Also, in the event that you catch a cold, keep contact with your guests and visitors to a minimum!
Packing up to get away? We recommend you bring these items with you:
- Hand sanitizer for you and your family
- Plastic trash bags to ensure trash doesn’t spill and contaminate surfaces
- One-time-use table covers to reduce contact with surfaces
- Extra soap for hand washing in case the rest stop or campground is out