Are we being too clean and are we making a future world where we are susceptible to more infections ? Are we causing some of the allergies (such as asthma or eczema) that are on the increase by being too clean? Our immune system can protect us against many minor infections and vaccination has been very successful in reducing a number of severe diseases. For example; diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, smallpox, measles and some causes of meningitis have become relatively rare in developed countries. However, common diseases such as food poisoning, boils, skin infection and the common cold are still prevalent? We do not have vaccination available for these and we rely heavily on antibiotics. We are running out of antibiotics however, and many of the bacteria are becoming resistant. Therefore we are becoming more cautious about hygiene and cleanliness, but can we be too clean? It is important to keep your body and environment clean without being overzealous.

Being environmentally clean is very important to prevent food borne infection. It has been shown many times that frequently touched areas in the kitchen (kettle handles, oven handles. Light switches, door knobs) are often forgotten and can be a source of infection, especially if these areas have been touched by unwashed hands. Let us look at good practice in the kitchen.

  • Wash your hands and dry thoroughly after before handling food in the kitchen
  • Clean your work surfaces and frequently touched areas with a good surface cleanser using a clean cloth or paper towel
  • Ensure that your chopping board is cleaned thoroughly before use and following use.
  • Cut raw meat on a plate that can be washed in hot soapy water afterwards
  • Do not wash raw chicken as the splashes can contaminate surfaces
  • Wash all knives etc after use in hot soapy water