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 residence hall room.

For a clean environment, follow these tips:

  • Declutter. 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.
  • Vacuum. 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://community.hilbert.edu/2017/09/25/its-cold-flu-season-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/

 

 

It’s Cold & Flu Season – Wash Your Hands!

From the Hilbert College Wellness Center
By Kirsten Falcone, RN

Cold and flu season has begun.
Remember to wash your hands!

There is always something “going around” as soon as people get back to school. Hilbert campus is no exception. To avoid becoming sick, please review the following procedure for washing your hands.

Did you know washing your hands is the best proven way to reduce the spread of illness? Wash your hands before and after touching food, after using the bathroom, after contact with another person (such as shaking hands), and after they are soiled. You can also wash your hands as soon as you walk in the door of your residence, to keep your roommate or family from catching anything you drag in with you. Hands can become “soiled” even if they do not appear that way. Some ways this can happen are by touching your face, touching common surfaces that may contain microorganisms, or from poor hygiene.

Not everyone knows the proper technique for washing hands. Here it is:

  1. Ready a paper towel before you turn on the water.
  2. Using tepid or warm (not hot) water, wet your hands and then lather up with soap, while the water runs. (Antimicrobial soap is not necessary; any hand soap will do.)
  3. Lather and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice).
  4. Make certain to wash under your nails, between your fingers, the backs of your hands, and even your wrists. Rinse these areas well.
  5. Dry your hands on the paper towel.
    (If you must use a cloth towel, have a separate cloth towel for each roommate or family member, and replace often.)
  6. Finally, turn the water faucet off with a dry paper towel or clean cloth towel. Exit the bathroom by turning the doorknob with a paper towel, also.
  7. Dispose of the paper towel in a proper receptacle.

If you are not able to wash your hands, using a gel hand sanitizer is an acceptable alternative. Use enough to wet the entire area, and rub it in until the gel is dry. (Two exceptions are when hands are visibly soiled, and when you have already used hand sanitizer several times.)

For more information, please visit these Web sites:

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):
http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

WebMD:
https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/hand-washing-directory