7 Ways to Avoid Germs with Crohn’s
This is the story of how I stumbled upon 7 ways to avoid germs with Crohn’s disease.
The other day, I was driving and the Howard Stern Show was on in the background. A host from Sirius’ “Weird Medicine” show offered to test the staff for germs and the results were in. My interest was piqued. This was probably one of the most cringe-worthy drives home I’ve had in a while.
Staff members tested had the test sprung on them. This was done to ensure that no one went and washed their hands before getting their hands swabbed. One staff member’s hands had a rare bacterium that can cause sepsis. Ick!
As I shut off my car and walked into the grocery store, I tried to tune out what I had just heard. I was then barraged with signs about getting a flu shot. It’s on my “to do” list.
Germs are everywhere and we are constantly exposed
Before grabbing a cart, I grabbed a sanitizing wipe, and then a second. I probably grabbed that second wipe due to what I had just heard. I moved through the shopping list quickly and headed home.
Once home, I started thinking about just how many things I touched that other people had already touched in the store. Then, I started thinking about the flu shot reminders around the store. My guilt for not getting the flu shot yet is at an all-time high, as it is. It’s on my list; I need to schedule the appointment.
If you’re wondering, “Why didn’t you get the flu shot at the store? You were there!”
I have fainting spells and have allergic reactions to the oddest things. So, I do my flu shot at the doctor’s office with about 20 minutes of supervision before I head home. It’s worked for me and my anxiety thus far. Why rock the boat, you know?
Trying to avoid the flu and germs with Crohn's disease
Aside from getting the shot, I know I need to help prevent germ invasion as much as possible. So, I went searching for the best ways to “avoid the flu Crohn’s disease,” and “ways to avoid germs with Crohn’s disease.”
I was curious, what can I say?
I surfed around the Internet a little and I tapped the brains of my IBD patient expert friends for their recommendations on avoiding germs. The majority of their recommendations and the ones on the net focused around the household. These tips are easily adaptable for an office environment, as well.
Here are 7 ways to avoid germs with Crohn’s:
- There is no 3, 5, 10 or 15-second rule. If food hits the ground you toss it and wash those hands.
- Sanitize all doorknobs in the house every few days. A friend walks around her house, every three days, and wipes down each doorknob, door handle, cabinet knob, and faucets with antibacterial household cleaning wipes.
- Shoes stay by the front door or come off and go in a basket. You can have house shoes. But if your shoes have been outside, they cannot be worn in the house. Outdoor shoes can track in all kinds of bacteria.
- Clean your towels every three uses and wash your sheets every week. This tip came from a microbiologist interviewed by Business Insider. Who wouldn’t want that recommendation from him? The article gives a pretty compelling argument on why you should wash the towels, which includes exposure to droplets from the toilet.1
- Replace kitchen cleaning and cooking utensils with silicone products. Hard plastic and sponges can retain bacteria. Silicone scrubbers are great because you can throw them in the dishwasher for sanitizing. I recently invested in a silicone thermos scrubber and love it. Recently, while shopping at the dollar store, I found a silicone scrubber for the sink. I’ve used it several times and it has now replaced the kitchen scrubber.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe down your cellphone, TV remote, laptop, keyboard, home or work phone, and your car’s steering wheel and radio’s surfaces. Just like the knobs in your home, these are the other items you’re touching often daily.
- Encourage members of your household to cover their mouths when they cough and immediately wash hands. If they are sick, consider quarantining them to their rooms. It may sound harsh, but a friend mentioned how after implementing this simple tip, they were able to stop other family members from catching the virus.
With my having Crohn’s and being on treatment, my mom having cancer and her being on treatment, and my husband’s mother having scar tissue in her lungs, we strive to be as careful as possible.
While not foolproof, implementing these tips has helped our household, friends, and family members reduce getting sick as often. I hope this can help you, too!
How do you help yourself and your family avoid germs?
Do you live with allergies in addition to Crohn's or UC? If so, which ones? (Select all that apply)