Germs live everywhere and are spread through the air in sneezes or coughs, or through body fluids such as sweat, saliva or blood. Once these pesky little germs get into your body, they can damage or destroy healthy cells, use your nutrients and energy, and produce waste products, known as toxins, which can cause a variety of illnesses. But rather than leaving out the welcome mat for some not-so-friendly germs, you can take steps to help germ-proof your home.

Hand washing is the first line of defense against spreading germs. Use soap and warm water to wash hands thoroughly. Remember to wash for 20 seconds and clean under your fingernails. Dry with a clean towel. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Cleaning surfaces with soap and water on a routine basis to remove germs usually is enough, but sometimes you may want to use a disinfectant to destroy germs. Areas that should be disinfected include food preparation counters in the kitchen and all surfaces in the bathroom.

Stop the spread of germs in the kitchen by washing cutting boards, utensils, dishes and counter tops. Do not cross-contaminate foods. Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables under running water. Cook foods to the proper temperature to kill bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Remember to refrigerate foods promptly and store leftovers properly.

If you have animals in your home, do not let children play in areas where pets go to the bathroom. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily; however, pregnant women should not clean litter boxes.

A little prevention can go a long way. Practicing simple habits, such as hand washing, can help protect your health. To learn more, take the free, online germs quiz on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214 324-6100

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