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Ways to Stay Healthy - 17 Tips To Protect Yourself From Food Borne illnesses and Diseases

Updated on October 31, 2014
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field mouse

How to Stay Healthy

There are so many things that we can do to help us stay healthy, however, today I will be sharing 17 tips; but before I get to these tips, let me just say that sometimes several of the illnesses we have contracted are from bugs and pests in our own homes. Secondly, quite often, we ourselves are also to be blamed for our share of diseases and illnesses that we have indirectly introduced into your bodies due to poor practices and poor home hygiene. For example, the norovirus has been linked to poor food preparation, infrequent washing of the hands, and poor or improper sanitation techniques. Some of us have never given any of this much thoughts, else we would have taken these simple steps to make our home environment more safer for our overall health.

Below are are three household pests in particular, that are responsible for spreading some of the most deadly germs and diseases found in our homes:

  1. Flies - which are more prevalent during the daytime for example, cannot readily digest solid foods, they have to vomit on food in order to liquefy them. When you eat or share a meal with flies, what you may ended up with is diarrhea, dysentery and other diseases.
  2. Roaches - like flies, can transmit serious diseases like typhoid fever and cholera. The germs responsible for these diseases, are picked up by roaches from filth and carried to the food you eat. Roaches can also transmit dysentery, the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the large intestine caused by bacterial or viral infection. Dysentery is a disease characterized by abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, and bloody stool, mucus or pus in the stools. If an individual with this disease doesn't get help immediately, he or she may die from dehydration or other complications.
  3. Mice - they can contaminate food with their urine and excretion. They are also known to carry parasites such as fleas, mites and worms, and they can spread also many other diseases. Mice are responsible for transmitting the disease known as Leptospirosis. symptoms of this disease include enlargement of the spleen, jaundice, and nephritis. The infection is commonly pass on to humans when they consumed water/food that has been contaminated by the urine of mice. Leptospirosis can also be transmitted through openings in the skin, via the eyes, or even by way of the mucous membranes.

Improper storage and handling of uncooked as well as cooked or prepared food, can also lead to food poisoning and other serious health related illnesses. Therefore, it's also important that we practice the proper food safety precautions at all times.

Since we often contracted germs and diseases in homes from household pests, poor home hygiene and the improper handling of food, if we take certain precautions we can dramatically protect ourselves from household germs, viruses, diseases, food borne pathogens, poisoning and other illness etc, and improve our overall health, by just following these 17 simple recommendations:

  • Properly clean and sanitize stove tops, tables, and counter surfaces with antibacterial cleaners before using them.
  • Practice frequent hand-washing with antibacterial/germicide soaps and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
  • Wash cups,plates and other utensils, before and after using them. Turn each of them down to drain and let them air-dry, if you don't have a dishwasher at home.
  • Don't leave food sitting around uncovered or unattended, neither should you leave food out at nights for roaches and mice to feed on or crawl over.
  • Don't leave dirty dishes in sinks at nights.
  • Refrigerate all food items that require refrigeration after using or opening containers.
  • Refrigerate all meat/ poultry and eggs.
  • Keep and serve milk at 40 degrees F. Refrigeration is the single most important factor in maintaining the safety of milk. By law, Grade A milk must be maintained at a temperature of 45 degrees F or below. However, temperatures well below 40degrees F, are necessary to preserve the milk's quality.
  • Cook foods should be cooked and serve at optimal temperature.
  • Don't use aerosol sprays, disinfectant,household cleaners and other toxic products around opened food or drinks/water.
  • Leave at least one window opened for awhile for air exchange, when using the above products.
  • Keep a mat at door entrance and wipe shoes well after returning from outdoor.
  • If you work at a hospital or in any environment which may exposed you to blood borne pathogens or the chance of picking up any other super bugs/germs on the bottom of your shoes, don't walk through house with house on, especially if your house is carpeted. Remove all shoes, and leave them on an inside foot mat.
  • If your job requires you to be in contact with patients, or body fluids etc, remove clothes/outer garments as soon as you get home. Don't sit on chairs, coaches, or sit/lie on beds before moving outer garments. Immediately place them in soil/dirty clothes basket.
  • Avoid cross contamination, don't use knives to cut raw or uncooked meats, then use same knives to cut cooked meats or any ready to eat food items without washing them thoroughly. If you use pots, pans, cutting board or counter surfaces to prepare uncooked fish, meat, poultry etc., wash or sanitize before using the same surface to prepare cooked or prepared food items.
  • Get rid of all food items with expired dates, especially can foods.
  • Wash all uncooked fruits and vegetables before eating.

Based on the consumer guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Services, food and dairy products should be cooked to the following temperatures:

Fresh Beef:

Medium Rare - 145 deg. F or 63deg.C

Medium - 160 deg. F or 71deg.C

Well Done - 170 deg. F or 77deg.C

Ground Beef-160 deg. F or 71deg.C

Poultry :

Chicken - 180 deg. F or 82 deg C

Turkey - 180 deg. F or 82 deg C

Boneless Turkey Roast - 170deg. F or 77 deg C

Stuffing (inside/outside bird - 165deg. F or 74 deg C

Fresh Pork:


Medium - 160 deg. F or 71deg.C

Well Done - 170 deg.F or 77 deg.C

Cured Pork:

Ham/Fresh - 160 deg. F or 71 deg.C

Sausage/Fresh - 160 deg. F or 71 deg.C


Fried/Poached - cook until yolk and white are firm

Casseroles - 160 deg. F or 71deg.C

Sauces/Custards - 160 deg.F or 71 deg.C

Please note that commercial cooking temperatures are slightly lower than home cooking temperatures.

One final word of advice to help you stay healthy:- It's highly recommended that you have a cooking thermometer at hand whenever you are cooking. Also, keep a thermometer in your refrigerator and record daily temperatures. This will allow you to adjust temperature as needed and you will also be able to tell if your refrigerator is working optimally or not.

Copyright (c) I.McFarlane 2012


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    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject matter nityanandagaurang. I agree that sometimes it's our own carelessness or negligence that causes us to get ill.

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Thanks for putting aside a couple minutes of your busy schedule to read this hub biancaalice. Also, thanks for your vote.

      Thanks for Sharing!

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Hey Brett, thanks for stopping by as usual. Keeping things pretty clean is one of the best ways to go, especially during this season (flu/cold season). I do agree that some people immune system are more compromised than others. There are also others, like you say who "haven't build up an immunity" against certain bacteria etc. The bottom line is, I am not implying that readers to develop an OCD trait,I just want them to be more cautious.

      Thanks for SHARING!

    • nityanandagaurang profile image

      nityanandagaurang 6 years ago

      Actually most of diseases spread beacause of our carelessness.If one keep in mind all your points,then there are little chance of getting affected.Very useful hub mackyi.

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Although most of these advices on the list are just common sense, others are things we usually don't give much thoughts. Thanks for reading and also for leaving your feedback. I Look forward to reading your hubs.

    • biancaalice profile image

      biancaalice 6 years ago from Southern California

      Excellent hub, I enjoyed the read. Voted up and interesting.

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      I am just sharing a bit of information that I think some people might find useful joelipoo. I do respect your thoughts on this subject however. Thanks for reading.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

      Up and interesting. While I generally keep things pretty clean, I also try not to go OTT, as I feel that the lack of exposure is why everyone gets sick so easily...they haven't built up an immunity.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • The Finance Hub profile image

      The Finance Hub 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Great tips. I used to be in the restaurant industry where my management training taught me all of this. However, it is unfortunate that it's not common knowledge! Great hub, voted up and useful! Hope you enjoy my hubs as well!

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 6 years ago from Ohio

      I understand the major points about remaining sanitary, but sometimes, I feel like we have become overly sensative about this. Some people take it over the top with their fear of germs. I feel as though my immune system is stronger because I haven't been so particular about germs always.

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      I totally agree with you sunasia22. Some years ago while I was living in New York, I was working part-time in a Nursing Home Kitchen, while I was in College. I was fortunate to learn quite a few things about sanitation,food prep and storage. Like you say,preparation is very critical. Thanks for sharing this additional bit of information.

    • sunasia22 profile image

      sunasia22 6 years ago from Philippines

      Preparation of food is very critical for our health since contaminants and dangerous substances can make their way into the food. Raw meat can be quickly contaminated with disease causing microorganisms so they must be cooked as soon as possible.

      A very informative and useful hub. Voted up!

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Thanks for sharing this additional information tamarwhite.

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 6 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Washing your hands often is critical.

      Teaching children NOT to eat uncooked cookie dough is important.

      Avoid using utensils that have been used in contact with raw foods in other foods, such as a mixer that handled raw eggs and using it to make smoothies.