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  • Germs exist throughout our environment and can spread to individuals through direct and indirect contact.
  • Germs can be transferred from inanimate surfaces (i.e. door knobs, countertops) to hands and vice-versa.
  • The home environment plays a significant role in the transmission of disease.
  • Germs can thrive wherever there is an ample source of nutrients and water.  Areas in the kitchen, bathroom, and the laundry can serve as reservoirs for the growth of germs.
  • Bacteria like E. coli prefer areas with high humidity, such as drains, sinks, shower stalls, and toilets.  Other bacteria such as staphylococci prefer a dryer surface like counter tops or skin.
  • Poor food preparation practices, along with moist surfaces, all contribute to kitchens being bacteria-friendly environments.  When not properly cleaned and/or disinfected, countertops, cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces provide the perfect environment for the survival of germs.
  • Germs can be brought into the home by one family member and spread to others.  For example, children can carry germs picked up in child-care settings, schools, or play groups, into their home and spread them to siblings and parents.
  • Drying surfaces as a means to eliminate germs is not sufficient.  Although drying reduces the number of bacteria on clean surfaces, large numbers of bacteria have been found on contaminated surfaces within 24 to 48 hours afterwards.
  • Plain soaps or detergents do not necessarily kill microorganisms: cleaning contaminated surfaces using a dishcloth and detergent or soap and water may actually spread germs.
  • Some germs can live on moist surfaces (like bathroom sinks) for up to three days.
  • The average kitchen dishcloth can contain 4 billion living germs.
  • Germs are most often spread by hands through person-to-person contact.
  • Germs can enter our bodies through the mouth, nose, eyes and breaks in the skin without our even knowing we’ve been infected.
  • Poor personal hygiene by food handlers is the second leading cause of food borne illness.
  • Some 5.5 million visits to doctors’ offices each year are due to skin infections.