Let’s face it: the Covid-19 health crisis has made us all a bit more paranoid about germs and bacteria. However, as we move forward, it’s important to remind ourselves that billions of other bacteria, viruses, and microbes are constantly present all around us, so we shouldn’t let this fear paralyze our motions and prevent us from living our lives. So how can we protect ourselves without overdoing it?
We are always surrounded by microbes, and that is normal
Microbes are all around—in your workspace, on your kitchen counters, and even on your skin. Everywhere is where they live, in tiny ecosystems that are referred to as “microbiomes.” Yes, it’s true that some of these cause diseases, but most of them won’t.
Remind yourself that the bacteria on your desk or door handles were most likely brought in by you and others who are in the space. As microbiologist Mark O. Martin said during a previous germ craze, “You’ve got microbes all over your skin, but that doesn’t stop you from holding hands.”
What’s actually worth doing to avoid germs
Now that we’ve been reminded that most microbes are harmless, what can we do to protect ourselves from the ones that might make us sick?
Be careful with raw meat and other food safety hazards
Raw chicken and eggs might have harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, and raw beef could have E. coli, and so on. This is why you should always wash your hands after preparing these foods, and make sure to disinfect utensils and surfaces that these foods were in contact with while you were cooking. Usually, hot soapy water will do the trick.
Wash your hands reasonably often
Along with washing your hands after touching raw meats, be sure to wash your hands after touching the trash, pet-related items, diapers, actual dirt, and after you use the bathroom of course. For more smart suggestions, the CDC has a helpful handwashing guide that you can check out.
Consider also washing your hands before you eat, so whatever bacteria that has tagged along from things you’ve been in contact with won’t end up in your mouth.
Take precautions around people who are sick or may be sick
Germs that make people sick can tend to get other people sick, so just be aware of who you’re spending your time with and what things they’ve been touching. For instance, if your child gets a cold, then be intentional about cleaning the bathroom with a proper disinfectant, not just the standard soap and hot water.
Wearing a mask in public should be a habit we carry on from the Covid-19 era that we are hopefully emerging out of. This can help keep your germs away from others if you’re plagued with a cold or other illness, and it can also keep you from contracting sickness from others too.
Hand sanitizer and regularly cleaning surfaces that are frequently touched like door handles and dining areas are also good habits to keep up to prevent illnesses that spread via surface contact like colds and the flu.