#1 Cause of Illness and Infection: Lack of Proper Hygiene

That’s a pretty serious statement, especially in Western society that is considered clean and hygienic. Now consider the following headline that recently appeared in the mainstream media.

Fecal Matter Hiding in Hotel Rooms

What this article highlights is a status quo in the hospitality industry that is not too different than the homes of the great majority of Americans. We have all known for years that hotels and motels, restaurants and bars are quite unsanitary and unhygienic. The truth be told, these establishments are shockingly filthy and unsafe from a strictly hygiene standpoint.

Referring to the article above, it is clear that it is impossible for these food and accommodation businesses to maintain a truly clean and hygienic environment. Absolutely impossible in this day and age! Therefore, one ought to approach them with this accurate understanding.

Where are we going with this? 

If you are ill with acute or chronic symptoms, or are have any one of the New Millennium Maladies, then extra special precautions ought to be taken when visiting a restaurant or staying at a hotel. Particularly when staying at a hotel for an extended period, would one want to take precautionary measures before setting up your ‘temporary home’ at the hotel and/or motel.

For starters, you really do not know the cleaning practices of the maids in any given hotel. However, you can probably imagine that their daily routine has many holes in it from a strictly hygiene perspective. Therefore, you can assume that a quick disinfecting of the most sensitive areas of the room ought be performed.

We bring our own small supply of cleaning supplies when we travel. At a minimum, distilled white vinegar and ethanol (or grain alcohol) should be brought on every trip away from home.

Consider for a moment the true condition of just the handles in a typical hotel room. The faucet handles in the bathroom, the toilet handle, the bathroom door handles. These may be rarely cleaned and are primary vectors for disease transmission and fecal contamination.

Even though they look hygienic, much lurks on the superficially clean surfaces in every hotel bathroom.

Even though they look hygienic, much lurks on the superficially clean surfaces in every hotel bathroom.

Throughout the entire hotel industry, business moves very, very fast, 365 days a year with little quality time to give the rooms and other guest areas a truly serious and PROPER cleaning. Same goes for the restaurant industry. Who hasn’t witnessed the condition of a fast food bathroom? We, here at The Health Coach, have frequently seen workers use the bathroom without practicing proper hygiene methods. They’re usually running to get back to the job.

The aforementioned article focused on the location of fecal matter on surfaces where it ought not to be. As follows:

“Researchers from the University of Houston swabbed 19 hotel room hideouts, from door handles to headboards, and found the fecal bacterium E. coli hiding on 81 percent of the surfaces, including the remote control, the telephone and the bedside lamp.”

Now consider what happens while you’re eating in your room while manipulating the remote control or telephone as you eat. Clearly, there are very good reasons to run some alcohol over any surface which your hand goes to over the course of your stay, yes?

“The maid cart may be a villain”

Now consider that hotels and restaurants re-use their cleaning tools and implements over and over again without changing. First to save money; second to save time. Here again the referenced article points out the following reality in most hospitality establishments around the entire world.

“The maid cart may be a villain, and not the hero in the fight against contamination, according to the study, which found bacteria blooming on mops and sponges used to clean rooms.”

The thought that the very same sponge that is used to clean the toilet is also used to clean the sink and faucet is quite revolting, but it is also the standard practice. Is this how you clean your home bathroom and kitchen? If so, your home is no cleaner that a hotel or restaurant. Which is precisely the point of this little health coaching ‘lecture’.

What goes on in the kitchen in most homes often determines the overall health of the residents. Dirty kitchen, unclean body. No way around it. If you use the same sponge without changing, the same mophead or the same rags and towels way beyond their hygienic life, you create vectors for contamination that self perpetuate.

Even if your kitchen does not look like the one pictured above, you might want to perform an audit of all the key areas. The sink, stovetop and chopping counters are particularly vulnerable to contamination. As are the refrigerator, meal table and breakfast bar.

What are the regular home hygiene practices that effectively address these matters?

There are many, of course, and all of them appeal to common sense. Proper and frequent hand-washing with the right soaps is the number one deterrent to disease transmission within the home. Since the bathroom and kitchen are the two primary sites of what can and often does go wrong in this department, one needs to be thoughtful about why and when to wash with warm water, effective but nontoxic soap, and for a time period that will sufficiently remove the germs or other offending material.

Obviously using a clean, fresh towel is also important, since even a wet towel can become a vector of contamination very quickly when overused by several people. There are many other tips and suggestions which one can make in this process of maintaining a clean and hygienic kitchen and bathroom, but that does not mean that the other rooms in the home do not need adequate attention as well.

What follows are two articles which focus on neglected areas in every house, which can contribute to an assortment of health conditions if not addressed appropriately.

HVAC Systems: Is Yours Contaminating Your Home?

Fiberglass Insulation: Extremely Hazardous To Your Health!

In closing, we would like to provide a link for those who might doubt the prominent role of cleanliness and hygienic practices in preventing illness, especially in the bathroom. If this video presentation doesn’t make a believer out of them ….

Flu can be spread by Toilet Flushing

Also, below is an article that underscores the importance of always flushing the toilet with the toilet lid down. It may sound like common sense, but it is often neglected and is the source for much bacterial contamination throughout a bathroom. If this single practice by the entire household were strictly adhered to, the vectors for disease dissemination would be reduced significantly. It is also highly recommended that the toilet lid always be down when not in use.

Flushing Can Spread Diarrhea Disease

Now you know why the outhouse was completely detached and away from the house. And we think we’re more civilized than those who took a walk to the outhouse in the days of old.


May you enjoy great health,
The Health Coach

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