Tame those Summer Bugs: My MMM

June 15, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Dear Friends:

It seems you can’t be too careful these days. Since the Swine Flu epidemic was a no-show (but could resurface this Fall), now is a very good time to tighten up on summer eating habits.

Love those picnic lunches in the park? Think again.

Charles Gerba, Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Tucson says that picnic tables contain more germs than bathrooms. YIKES. Why? They contain lots of crevices in the wood that don’t really get cleaned properly by “users.” Consequently, leftovers mix with rain and bird bacteria has a field day.

Gerba calls picnic tables “basically bathrooms for birds.” How picturesque.

To avoid contamination, always use a tablecloth on both the table and the benches.
A table in the sun would be best as heat will dry up moisture so the bacteria won’t have a thriving enviornment. Besides, UV light also helps zap pathogens.

Now let’s move on to the gas pump.

Nearly 40 Americans will hit the road this summer. Research from Seattle Pacific University revealed that gas pumps harbor tons of colonies of bacteria from unwashed hands of the drivers. Just think about it; you are handling a pump that might have been touched by six drivers before you arrived to fill your tank. This is why you need to stash away a pack of disinfecting wipes in the car that you can use on your hands for times like this.

Then, there is the summer barbecue. Beware!
That salsa is especially germ-laden because of its consistency that enables saliva-tainted salsa bits to slide down from partially eaten chips and end up back in the communal dip.

Last but not least, I know you will appreciate this tip when you are in a hotel/motel. It appears that the alarm clock is a catch-all for nasal, fecal and food germs unwittingly left on the clock radio by previous guests.

Those same disinfecting wipes you now have in your car can be packed in your suitcase. I personally use a Clorox wipe — and have gotten in the habit of bringing a whole container of them in my carry-on with me when I am on the airplane. I clean off the armrests, the seat, the seat belt, the magazines, and the tray and monitors. AND, my hands.

Summer time is a healing, luxurious time of the year. Just learn to outsmart the risks and you will be fine.
Until next week.

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

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  1. PJ

    I have stopped going to restaurants that have buffet lines. If I must eat where I have to touch communal serving spoons, I do my dishing up and then wash my hands or use the wipes before I touch my own fork and knife to start eating.

  2. Margaret Barlow

    You give us a lot to think about i do use the wipes at home and work but never thought about picnics.


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