Public health advisory: Hand hygiene and food safety

(CHCC) — The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation’s Public Health/Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program and Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity Programs would like to remind the community that proper hand hygiene is the key element to infection prevention and control in both the healthcare settings and in the community.

Be food smart

Keep food refrigerated, wrapped and away from direct sunlight at picnic/barbeque events. Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

Common symptoms  of foodborne diseases are nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. However, symptoms may differ among the different types of foodborne diseases. Symptoms can sometimes be severe and some foodborne illnesses can even be life-threatening. Although anyone can get a foodborne illness, some people are more likely to develop one. Those groups include:

Precautionary measures

o Clean your hands and surfaces when preparing food

o Do not cross contaminate as raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods — unless you keep them separate.

o Thoroughly cook meals to kill germs that can make you sick.

o Refrigerate food promptly

o Before and after caring for someone who is sick

o Before and after treating a cut or wound

o After using the toilet

o After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

o After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

o After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

o After handling pet food or pet treats

o After touching garbage

Most people with a foodborne illness get better without medical treatment, but people with severe symptoms should see their doctor or primary care physician.