Each year there are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food-borne illness in Australia. Food poisoning results in a whopping 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors each year.
Of course, we all know the best defence against food poisoning and other nasty germs, don’t we?
Tomorrow is Global Handwashing Day, and the Food Safety Information Council has recommended Australians remember this simple hack for ensuring any nasties don’t make it to their mouths:
When washing your hands, hum Happy Birthday twice.
This is how long it takes to get squeaky clean hands, particularly after using public facilities. It’s also an easy trick to teach your grandkids.
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Food Safety Information Council Chair, Rachelle Williams, said most Australians sort of know how to wash their hands correctly as the Council’s telephone surveys consistently showed that 98 per cent of respondents recognised you should wash your hands using soap and dry thoroughly on a clean towel.
“But when we observe people actually washing their hands our most recent study showed 29 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women didn’t wash their hands at all after using the bathroom in the food hall of a shopping centre,” Ms Williams said.
“Correct hand washing is an important public health issue as you might find that you and your family may not only get less food poisoning, but also catch fewer viral diseases like norovirus, colds and flu.”
Here are five tips fro the Food Safety Information Council for washing your hands correctly:
- Wet your hands and rub together well to build up a good lather with soap as the suds
- Don’t forget to wash between your fingers and under your nails – you might have to use a nail brush.
- Rinse well under running water to help to carry bacteria and viruses away.
- Dry your hands thoroughly on a clean towel. Touching surfaces with moist hands encourages the contamination from the surface to your hands.
- Always wash and dry your hands before touching or eating food, after touching raw meat, fish or chicken, using the toilet, changing nappies, blowing your nose or touching a pet.
Do you hum while you wash your hands? Which song suits you best?