Germ harbours in the house

What areas of your house are unexpectedly harbouring germs?

We wash our floors, we dust and we vacuum, we scrub our sinks and our bathrooms, so really our immediate environment should be squeaky clean, shouldn’t it? Not necessarily! Germs like the cold and flu viruses, and many other bacteria can hide away in some very unlikely and unexpected places. Let’s look at some areas in the home that we may not consider as a health hazard!

Your TV Remote Control

The whole family use the TV remote control. It will get coughed on and sneezed on. It gets dropped on the floor, and trodden on. It falls down the side or back of the lounge chair. Even the dog might have a lick now and again.

Your remote control may harbour cold viruses or even some potentially nasty bacteria such as staph germs or E. coli.

Make a note to wipe it down with an alcohol swab at least once a week. More often if anyone in the family is sick.

Your Lounge Suite

Many of us, probably most of us love to sit in front of the TV and eat a snack or two. We usually manage to drop some crumbs and bits of food as we eat. Many of these dropped treasures, find their way down the side of the armchair, or down the back of the lounge, and there they sit. Going mouldy and harbouring many bugs, apart from being a feeding ground for cockroaches and maybe even mice! A good thing to remember to do, as you vacuum your floor, add the attachment that can slide easily down the sides and backs of your lounge, and remove the smorgasboard you have provided for any freeloaders!!

Your Computer Keyboard

Most of us at some time or another would eat at our computer, certainly cough or sneeze on the keyboard, and most of us would use our computer keyboard without washing our hands first, and as we do carry so many bugs on our hands, we are continually contaminating the keyboard. Now I wouldn’t consider that a major problem if you are the only person that will be using that computer. If it is a work computer and others may use that particular keyboard, then it is something to keep in mind. At the very least, wash you hands after you finish using it. Give your keyboard a wipe down each week with an alcohol swab, and give it a gently vacuum.

The Kitchen

Lots of bacteria can be happily growing in the kitchen sink and particularly in the strainer type plugs that sit in the drain. If any food is left in the strainer, it gives the bugs a lovely moist warm home. Bacteria , including salmonella and E. coli. can happily reside there. Then there is the sponge and dish cloth. Moist for hours, they can become a great breeding ground for these bacteria, and really need to be replaced each week.

Clean your sink by spraying a mix of white vinegar, C S extract, oregano oil, lemon oil onto your sink at night, and in the morning, give it a scrub with a scourer, and rinse. Remember to wear gloves when cleaning, even with these wonderful natural products, as the essential oils and the CS extract are very strong substances.

Your Toothbrush

Our good old toothbrush. We use it twice a day, in our mouths, we rinse it and put it away. We have many germs in our mouth, and these bugs love moist and dark and they grow and multiply as our toothbrush lies there.So keep your toothbrush as dry as possible between uses, and keep it in a plastic cover.

In particular, make sure that if you have a toilet in your bathroom where you keep your toothbrush, that you cover your toothbrush. Flushing the loo with the lid up is not a good idea, as there is a spray of bacteria and virus laden water droplets that stream out into the air, and these little bugs can land on your toothbrush, or hair brush or whatever you have in your bathroom. SO always close the toilet lid before flushing, and keep your toothbrush under cover.

Remember to replace your toothbrush after you have been sick, had a cold or flu, and at the very least once a week give your toothbrush a good clean with a mix of vinegar and CS extract.

Your Bathtub and Shower recess

I don’t really ever think of my bathtub and shower as possibly being unclean, as this is where I go to get myself clean. However, as I think about it of course we all get that build up of mould at one time or another, and mould of course is extremely dangerous. And there are more hidden little bugs lurking in our shower and bath tub. A US study found that around 1/4 of tubs and showers that they tested, had some staphylococcus bacteria and around 50% had mould that was not visible.

Worse still than our shower or bath tub are the hot tubs. Because the water just sits in the pipes, nice and dark and wet, providing a perfect breeding ground for many moulds and bugs to grow there. A microbiologist Dr Moyes, found that of 43 tubs tests 81% had fungi, all had mild to dangerous bacterial growth and fecal matter. YUK Ditch the hot tubs I say.

Even worse still is the shower head. Yep, the innocent looking shower head, sitting up there minding its business! Lurking beneath the cover is a universe of life. Bugs! A biofilm of bugs develops. This is a naturally occurring collection of bugs that stick to the surfaces and form layers of thousands of bugs. Lurking, waiting.

In a study in the US, there were many bacteria found in the shower head that are common in our soils and water.

In particular , mycobacterium avium was found in 80 percent of shower heads tested, This organism is a relative of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. Of these 40% had high levels of the bacterium.This bug is also found in our drinking water supply, and most people wont be bothered by it, providing your immune system is working optimally. The chlorine in our water supply doesn’t kill all of this bacterium. It is pretty much resistant to the chlorine now.

The danger in the shower is that you can inhale the bug into your lungs. Most of the population are ok and their immune systems can deal with it, but If you have a serious illness, are immunocompromised at all, or elderly, you can be a bit more vulnerable. Interestingly women in their 50s tend to be a bit more prone to this bacteria.

This particular bacterium can cause all sorts of lung symptoms, and disease. And I would consider that this could be a factor in why we are seeing an increase in lung infections. The symptoms from this bug are similar to symptoms of TB. A chronic shallow cough, some fever, real deep fatigue, and some weight loss. It can’t be transmitted from person to person fortunately.

What can you do to avoid this bug?

 Metal shower heads are are cleaner than plastic shower heads. 
 Run the water for a couple of minutes before getting into your shower. 
 Clean your shower head every 3 months with the following blend:

Use a blend of white vinegar, eucalyptus oil, CS extract, Calendula and clove oil.

And do remember, when you stay in a hotel, or shower in a gym run the shower for a couple of minutes, and keep your back to the shower and keep your mouth and eyes closed as you let the water wash over you. Ah, the hazards of being clean!!!

Protect Yourself

Many of the germs that we contact will never do us any harm. However, the potential is there, depending on many factors. By simply washing your hands regularly you are doing yourself a favour. Also you can help yourself by using a hand cleanser especially if you are out shopping or at sports venues etc.

This is a recipe for a hand cleansing gel that you can have on the kitchen sink, or take a small bottle of it where ever you go.

RECIPE FOR HAND CLEANSER

You can of course purchase your sanitising hand cleanser, but you don’t know what is in it, and it will be full of chemical additives and preservatives. I like to make my own as I know exactly what is in it. And I can make it with pure essential oils and not just a synthetic fragrance .

The recipe I am going to give you is simple and effective, and very cheap to make. Obviously using these hand sanitisers doesn’t substitute for washing your hands, but if are out and about and don’t have access to soap and water then it is a good alternative. Also, it is good to get a tissue and use your sanitiser to wipe objects, like my favorite the shopping trolley, particularly if you are putting your baby into a trolley and public toilet door handles. Do give it a wipe down. I know I am sounding a bit like a germ-a-phobic, however I do believe that wonderful old saying – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!!

To make your sanitiser you need some rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerine and some essential oils. So simple! The active ingredient in this hand sanitizer recipe is the alcohol, which needs to comprise at least 60% of the product in order to be an effective disinfectant. By adding the essential oils, you can add extra protection against germs, however be careful of the oils you choose, as some of the antimicrobial oils are very strong and can irritate your skin. Do a test using one drop of the mixture dabbed on the inside of the forearm. If a redness develops, you may want to change the essential oils you have chosen.

 

2/3 cup 99% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol (available in the larger chemists)

1/3 cup aloe vera gel

8-10 drops essential oil, such as lavender, vanilla, peppermint, grapefruit, lemon or lemon myrtle.

If you choose to add, in addition to any of the above, the very strong antimicrobial oils only add 1 or 2 drops. Oils such as rosemary, thyme & clove & tea tree