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Summer germ hotspots
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1. Germ Hotspot: Your grill
2. Germ Hotspot: Your picnic table
3. Germ Hotspot: Your garden

Stay germ free
Stay germ free

Here are the best ways to reduce your risk of catching a bug any time of the year:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • Use alcohol-based hand cleansers when running water isn’t available.
  • Clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces regularly.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meat or poultry and other foods.
  • Don’t undercook meat.
  • Refrigerate foods quickly; perishable items shouldn’t be at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Wash your hands after touching animals (especially at petting zoos), cleaning kitty litter boxes and gardening.

On a hot summer day, when you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or weeding your garden, getting sick is the furthest thing from your mind. It isn’t flu season, but harmful germs can still side-line you during warm weather. Play it safe by modifying some of your usual habits.

1. Germ Hotspot: Your grill

When grilling, foodborne bacteria can make you sick if you don’t cook your meat long enough or if you place cooked food on the same dish you used to bring it out to the grill when it was raw.

> Stay-healthy secrets: Use a meat thermometer instead of guessing that your dinner is done, based on the pinkness when you cut into your steak. And bring a clean plate outside to place cooked food on when you’re done grilling.

2. Germ Hotspot: Your picnic table

Buffet-style barbecues can be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria, if perishable foods are left out of the fridge for too long.

> Stay-healthy secrets: Keep an eye on the clock and refrigerate leftovers within two hours.

3. Germ Hotspot: Your garden

Getting your hands dirty in the garden may feel earthy and wonderful, but touching the soil can put you at risk of toxoplasmosis, a disease that’s contracted after touching cat feces or dirt where cats have been. Toxoplasmosis is hazardous to pregnant women (it can cause miscarriage), children under age 5 and anyone with a compromised immune system, such as cancer patients.

> Stay-healthy secrets: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after coming in from the garden