During my many years of parenting, I have discovered there are many things I would prefer not to touch. Some of these things are pretty obvious – various bodily fluids, “icky” things like frogs (maybe that’s just me) and anything that could potentially bite me.
During flu season (I recently learned there is no such thing as cold season), there are some “not so obvious” things that I would prefer not to touch as well. These are those every-day items that we routinely touch without much thought: cell phones, TV remotes, door handles, game controllers.
Quick question: have you ever seen that lady in public who uses a tissue to open a door handle? Or maybe that lady who offers the Howie Mandel “fist bump” rather than shaking hands? That would be me. I don’t know if this person just touched a button in a crowded elevator, or used the salt and pepper shakers at a local lunch establishment, or maybe grabbed a few bucks at the ATM.
Now, please understand that I wasn’t always that way. Before I made the decision to get (and stay) healthy, I was a very tactile person. I mean, I didn’t indiscriminately touch random objects, but I didn’t carry around a germ phobia either. That is, until I had children.
There is nothing quite like the start of a school year to find out how strong your immune system is. It usually only takes a couple of weeks before the sniffles start. The sniffles are followed by the sore throats, which eventually lead to coughs. The next thing you know, everybody is making some kind of “sick noise” and bodily fluids abound. Ick! Result? Missed school days for them, missed work days for me.
Now, I have taught my kids over the years some pretty basic rules of thumb: cough into the crook of your elbow, sneeze into a tissue, avoid sharing anything with a sick person. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, things like that. But what about those nasty germs left behind? It wasn’t going to be enough to simply reduce our exposure. I was going to have to become a germ fighting machine!
You are probably familiar with and may even use Lysol or use some of the disinfecting wipes on the market. I used to carry those products around in my tote bag, much to the embarrassment of my husband and kids. But I learned a few years ago that those items were so incredibly toxic that they were wearing down our immune systems, making it next to impossible to get healthy, let alone stay healthy. So we switched to an EPA approved disinfectant made with thyme oil and lemon juice. Kills the same germs, keeps our immune systems running strong.
By doing a daily morning and a daily evening walkthrough of my house, I have been able to kill the vast majority of germs and I’m proud to say that we have only suffered one illness in three years. For the first time EVER, my son actually achieved Perfect Attendance. Not bad! So these are the surfaces I wipe and spray to make sure those pesky germs are not allowed to wreak havoc in my now green and healthy home (modify according to your own home’s needs):
Laundry Room: light switches, door handles, washing machine lid and knobs, dryer door and knobs
Kitchen: light switches, refrigerator door handle, microwave handle and touch pad, drawers handles, cupboard handles, sink faucet, oven door handle and stove knobs
Dining Room: light switches, door handle, tops of chairs
Living Room: light switches, lamp switches, remote controls, thermostat control
Bedrooms: light switches, lamp switches, alarm clocks, door handles, closet handles, drawer handles, remote controls
Bathrooms: light switches, sink faucets, shower/bath handles, entire toilet surfaces, closet handles, door handles
I also clean the handles to the front and back door, spray the keys, clean the cell phones and wipe down/disinfect the car door handles and steering wheel
Seriously, it only takes a few minutes each morning and each evening. But the rewards are huge if you are looking to be healthy. You don’t have to be a fanatic about germs to make these changes.
If you have any other ideas that have worked for you, please share them with me. Killing germs and make a few changes in our daily habits means healthier bodies. Healthier bodies don’t have to miss school or work and they just enjoy life more!
To your health and happiness,