Nutritionist Helga Meyer cautions us on how easy it is to contract illnesses. She recently witnessed a cashier started sneezing and then, due to the lack of a Kleenex tissue, used the hand with which he was scanning each item, to sneeze in. All items were again handled by another person bagging the produce.

Before an item is purchased, she says, it goes through several hands, which may be in dubious stages of cleanliness. Besides the common cold, many other diseases such as influenza are transmitted by touching your nose, eyes , mouth or eating with unwashed hands. Food poisoning can also be caused by unwashed or unclean food, and food that has spoiled – and can be passed from person to person.

She recommends these “Good Habits to Cultivate”:

  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom.
  • When using a public restroom and having washed your hands, always use a paper towel to open the door, where other unwashed hands have touched.
  • Wash your hands before handling food to prepare, or to eat.
  • Do not use the same cutting board for raw chicken and to prepare any other food , whether raw or to be cooked.
  • Thoroughly disinfect the dishcloth you use to wipe the countertop after preparing chicken or raw meat. It would be safest to use disposable paper towels to do the dirty work.
  • Be careful to clean out containers where you have used raw eggs, before using it for something else.
  • Wash packages which you bought, before storage, where possible.
  • Always wash vegetables and fruit before preparing them to use raw or cooked.

“The most important thing to do is what our mothers told us from the moment we could help ourselves: Wash your hands whenever necessary,” she says. “Cleanliness is the main way to keep yourself and your family healthy.”