Be a Good Roomie!

From the Hilbert College Wellness Center
by Kirsten Falcone, RN

Be a Good Roomie!
Hygiene when Living with a Roommate

It’s a new school year at Hilbert College, and many students on campus have never had a roommate before. Though exposure to some germs can be beneficial, there is no need to overdo that idea. Many germs encountered in the beginning of any school year will tend to proliferate on campus. What better place to start than your shared bathroom, doorknobs, desktops and countertops!

The following is advice for maintaining a clean environment to reduce the spread of illness in your own dorm room.

For a clean environment, follow these tips:

  • Hang up or fold your clothes and put them away. Organize your books, writing utensils, toiletries and electronics. Find an organizing system, so that it will be easy to clear your horizontal surfaces, including the floor.
  • Often vacuum cleaners stir up dust, which then lands on horizontal surfaces, so vacuum before cleaning.
  • Clean. First wash surfaces with an appropriate cleaner and warm water, to remove dirt and grime. Use paper towels or washable rags. Always disinfect rags or sponges before reusing them, or toss them out. Dust, open windows to ventilate, and open the window coverings to let the sunshine in.
  • Disinfect. After cleaning, use a germ-killing solution, such as a bleach or vinegar solution, to sanitize surfaces, such as door knobs and handles, countertops where food is prepared, faucets, and anything that gets handled frequently.
  • Wash out your reusable water bottles every day, and let them air dry. (See the link below for water bottle hygiene.) Bacteria thrive around the caps of water bottles, especially those that still have a moist environment inside.
  • Don’t share personal care tools (e.g. toothbrush, nail clipper, comb, towels, glasses, cups, utensils).
  • Refrigerator: Keep your refrigerator clean, to kill mold and mildew (fungi).
  • Food: Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, checking expiration dates on canned and bagged items. Don’t eat cooked food, such as a casserole, that has been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours. Even reheating won’t kill the germs that will make you sick.
  • Laundry: Wash sheets, towels, workout clothes and underwear in hot water and use a hot clothes dryer. Don’t throw dirty clothes on the floor. Use a laundry basket instead. In addition, wet items (such as towels and workout clothes) should be hung to dry instead of thrown into a pile of soiled clothes where mildew could grow.
  • Trash: To reduce odors and discourage the spread of germs, take out the trash daily. It can also be helpful to line garbage cans with disposable bags, such as kitchen bags or even plastic shopping bags.

For everyday personal hygiene, follow these tips:

  • Wash your hands often. It is the best way to avoid getting sick!
    (https://hilberttoday.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/remember-to-wash-your-hands/)
  • Don’t touch your face, nose, ears, eyes, or mouth, with soiled hands. Conversely, don’t touch your face with clean hands and forget to wash your hands afterward.
  • Brush your teeth and tongue two to three times per day. Floss once per day.
  • Bathe regularly, and keep your nails clean and short.
  • Foot hygiene: Athlete’s foot and plantar warts can be avoided by wearing sandals in public bathrooms or shower areas.
  • Clothing hygiene: Wear clean clothes, change underwear and socks daily, don’t wear someone else’s shoes or soiled clothing, and wear clothing that is appropriate for the season and the circumstances.

If you follow these guidelines, you and your roommate will most likely be healthier, get along better, feel ill infrequently, and appear a great deal healthier, too.

For more information on everyday hygiene, visit these Web sites:

Household cleaning tips
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/cleaning-sanitizing/household-cleaning-sanitizing.html

Personal hygiene
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/body/

Water bottle hygiene
SFGate:
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/bacteria-grow-keep-reusing-water-bottles-79320.html

Article “How Clean Should We Be?”
WebMD:
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/how-clean-hygiene-germs#1

Personal appearance and hygiene
TheSimpleDollar.com:
https://www.thesimpledollar.com/investing-in-yourself-personal-appearance-and-hygiene/

 

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