At the end of this module, you will be able to:
- Identify dangers of foodborne illnesses
- Describe the role of good hygiene in illness prevention
- Differentiate between hand soaps and hand sanitizers
- Describe hand washing techniques
- List other hand hygiene tips
The following key questions are answered in this module:
What are the health consequences of food contamination
Each year, food contamination causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the US.
What are the basic types of food contaminants?
Physical agents, such as broken glass or metal; chemical agents, like cleaning solutions and pesticides; and biological agents, like bacteria and viruses.
What is the most common cause of foodborne illness?
Biological agents such as bacteria and viruses.
How can dangerous contaminants get on our hands?
Touching common objects, like door knobs; touching animals; touching the nose or mouth; touching cuts, scrapes, and sores; touching raw or contaminated food; and touching fecal matter when using the bathroom.
What's the best way to remove dangerous contaminants from your hands?
Washing your hands with soap and/or sanitizers.
What is soap and when should I use it?
Cleaning compounds that break down dirt and grease. Generally, soaps are the thing to use in most cases.
When are hand sanitizers and when should I use them?
Antiseptics, usually alcohol-based, that are effective at killing germs. Sanitizers should be used after washing your hands with soap and water or when soap and water are not available.
For how long should I wash my hands?
For at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:
Washing your hands removes germs from the surface of the skin. The longer you wash your hands, the more germs are removed. It is recommended to wash your hands vigorously with soap and water for 20 seconds. This will kill about 99% of the germs which is safe enough for most purposes. Washing too quickly leaves excess germs and bacteria on your hands. These bacteria can reproduce rapidly. For example, an E.coli bacteria population can double in size every 20 minutes. If you wash your hands for only a few seconds, the germs that remain could quickly grow into a colony of millions and you will be more likely to contaminate things you touch.
Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:
- US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – www.fda.gov
- FDA Food - http://www.fda.gov/Food/default.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – www.cdc.gov
- CDC Food Safety - http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/
- U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – www.osha.gov
- OSHA eTools - https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/hazards/infection/infection.html