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I have a new baby

A new baby in the house means you need to be more careful with personal and home hygiene, as their new immune systems are still weak. Make sure the whole family washes their hands thoroughly with an antibacterial handwash before handling the baby, and use a quality antibacterial cleaner to make sure those hygiene hotspots remain germ free. Nappy/diaper changing areas are particularly important to prevent the spread of your baby's faecal germs to the rest of the family, too.

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I'm going on holiday

Think about surfaces you are touching that may be contaminated, such as doors, handles and switches on public transport or in hotels; these surfaces may all carry germs. In fact, a recent study of transmission of cold viruses in hotel rooms found that 66% of people with colds contaminated multiple surfaces in their hotel room with the virus1

Clean your hands with antibacterial soap and clean water if possible, or use a hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.

Don't forget that the local tap water might cause stomach upsets, so if in doubt try to drink only bottled water while you are on holiday. Remember that this includes brushing your teeth – don't use tap water if you have concerns about it making you ill.

1.Contamination of Surfaces in Homes of Adults with Natural Rhinovirus Colds and Transfer to fingertips During Normal Daily Activities, University of Virginia 2008.

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How can I protect myself/my family from swine flu?

Practice good hand hygiene, washing your hands frequently with soap and water ensuring all of the surfaces of the hands are cleaned. Use a quality disinfectant product to clean hand contact surfaces such as door handles, taps and light switches.

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My child is going back to school

Ensure your child knows how to wash their hands properly, making sure they are washing the front and backs of hands and in between fingers. Encourage them to sing ‘Happy Birthday' twice while washing, so that they know how long it takes to get rid of the germs that can make them ill. Make sure your child washes their hands when returning from school to minimise germs being brought from school into the home.

If your child does pick up an illness at school, increase the level of your normal home hygiene practices in the home to try to prevent the rest of family becoming ill too.

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I'm pregnant

When you are pregnant, your immune system is slightly less effective than usual. That means it's even more important to maintain good hygiene practices – especially hands and surfaces. Clean your hands with a quality antibacterial soap and water regularly, and use a quality disinfectant product to clean hand contact surfaces such as door handles, taps and light switches.

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I want to make my kitchen more hygienic

Make sure you regularly disinfect the key kitchen hygiene hotspots, which include taps, chopping boards and sponges/cloths. Don't forget frequently touched surfaces too, like door handles and light switches. Use a quality antibacterial product that's safe to use around food, and follow the instructions on the label.

It's really important to store food properly. If food needs to be stored in the fridge, make sure it's kept at 5˚C, don't overfill and make sure cold air can circulate.

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I want to make my bathroom more hygienic

Most people think that the dirtiest place in the bathroom is the toilet seat – yet a Hygiene Council study found it was actually the toilet flush that played host to the most germs.

Make sure you regularly disinfect the key hygiene hotspots, which include taps and the toilet flush. Mould can be a problem in damp bathrooms, so make sure the room is ventilated well and regularly disinfect mould-prone areas like shower seals.

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I'm having a barbecue

Make sure you clean all surfaces which have been contaminated by raw meat with a quality antibacterial product that is suitable for use around food.

Meats will only be safe to eat once they have been thoroughly cooked and are piping hot all the way through, so that the juices run clear with no pink colour left. You might want to consider cooking meats in the oven to ensure they're properly cooked, then finish them off on the barbecue for that chargrilled taste.

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I’m worried I’m cleaning too much

Although some exposure to germs can help to build up our immune systems, exposure to others can cause food poisoning, sickness and diarrhoea. By regularly disinfecting the key hygiene hotspots with a quality antibacterial cleaner, you can help to prevent the spread of harmful germs in the home.

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News

Access to clean water and soap may also boost growth in young children
22/08/2013

New research by the Cochrane Collaboration suggests that access to clean water and soap not only improves hygiene but may also boost growth in young children.
Read more...

Hygiene Council recommendations on cold and flu prevention
23/10/2012

The Hygiene Council have issued a cold and flu consensus statement, which details recommendations as to how to prevent cold and flu. Read more...

Hygiene hypothesis not supported by evidence
03/10/2012

A new report by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concludes that the hygiene hypothesis is not supported by evidence. Read more...