Parents continuously strive to maintain a healthy home for the family. With children spending a lot of time indoors, it is but appropriate to promote health and safety inside the home. Aside from taking steps to prevent injury, parents should also pay attention to areas in the house, where germs can multiply and cause illnesses.

Severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps are all common symptoms of food borne illnesses. These symptoms can be caused by the germs, which can be found in your very own kitchen. According to the CDC, around 76 million people each year become ill from pathogens in food. To add to that, some cases even result to death.

Keeping your kitchen clean is one of way of preventing food borne illnesses. Although we routinely use sponges and towels in the kitchen, these may be the very things where germs can proliferate. Make it a practice to wash these weekly in very hot water. A good alternative is to use a plastic type scrub, which can resist bacteria better.

Food can be contaminated when placed in surfaces, which have not been properly cleaned. Countertops, as well s kitchen tools, should be cleaned with hot soapy water before and after use. If you use antibacterial wipes on surfaces, make sure that you use it only once. In cleaning sinks and drains, use a diluted bleach solution comprising of one teaspoon of bleach, and a quart of hot water. Regularly sanitize your sink and drain to prevent growth of germs.

It is also equally important to practice proper hand washing. According to studies, unwashed hands are the most common cross-contamination agent between raw food items, and ready to eat foods. Be certain that you scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds to remove germs. The lids of canned foods should also be washed with hot soapy water before these are opened. Pay attention to signs of spoiling like bloating in juice bottles.

It may be good to purchase three cutting boards in three different colors. Use only one cutting board for vegetables and fruits, and separate ones designated for cutting fish, and red meat products. When cutting raw meat, do not use the same kitchen tool on other food items. Meats should also be marinated in the refrigerator, and not on the counter at room temperature. You may also defrost meat in the refrigerator, or you may use the microwave oven.

Produce should be washed under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. It is also vital to thoroughly cook food to destroy bacteria. Uncooked eggs may be unsafe due to the risk of Salmonella Enteritidis. Make sure that eggs or egg containing foods are completely cooked. In order to be safe, use only pasteurized eggs.

Since bacteria can proliferate rapidly, do not let cooked food to sit at room temperature, for more than two hours. Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers, so that it can reach the desired temperature quicker. Try not to pack your refrigerator, so that air can circulate, and to ensure that a safe temperature is maintained. To learn more about food storage, read my article titled, “Food Safety: How To Properly Store Food”.

Practicing healthy habits in the kitchen may take some time, especially when you are already used to your old ways. However, it is never too late to take steps in keeping kitchen germs at bay. After all, it is one way of ensuring that the meals you prepare are not only nourishing, but at the same time safe for your family.