How’s your hygiene self assessment

 

Research has shown that two-thirds of Britons don’t follow basic home hygiene.

This can lead to the spread of germs which, in turn, can cause infectious diseases.

Could your home be putting your health at risk?

Use this test to find out more and improve your knowledge of tackling germ hotspots.

 

QUESTIONS

 

Tips you might want to consider in future are in italics.

 

 

1.When do you wash your hands?

 

a) Regularly - particularly after using the toilet or changing the baby's nappy, and before and after preparing food (0 points)

 

b) Before and after handling raw food - but not always after using the toilet (1 point)

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them before and after handling food, going to the toilet, blowing your nose or touching animals.

 

c) Once or twice a day – when they look dirty (2 points)

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them before and after handling food, going to the toilet, blowing your nose or touching animals.

 

d) Hardly ever (3 points)

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them before and after handling food, going to the toilet, blowing your nose or touching animals.

 

Did you know?

Hands are the biggest spreaders of germs in the home. Studies show that hand washing lowers the transmission of diarrhoea and colds, and targeted disinfection at critical sites reduces the spread of infection in the home. Wash your hands frequently during the day, using hot water and soap, to prevent spreading germs. Wash them every time you’ve been to the toilet, and before and after preparing food.

 

 

2. What do you do when you sneeze?

 

a)Cover your mouth with a tissue, immediately dispose of the tissue safely and then wash your hands (0 points)

 

b)Cover your mouth with a tissue, immediately dispose of the tissue safely but forget to wash your hands (2 points)

When you sneeze, always cover your mouth with a tissue, dispose of it immediately and wash your hands.

 

c)Cover your mouth with a tissue, and then leave the tissue lying around for someone else to pick up (2 points)

When you sneeze, always cover your mouth with a tissue, dispose of it immediately and wash your hands.

 

d)Don't bother to cover your mouth when you sneeze (3 points)

When you sneeze, always cover your mouth with a tissue, dispose of it immediately and wash your hands.

 

Did you know?

Nasal secretions from someone suffering from influenza can contain up to 10 million infectious influenza particles per mililitre.

 

 

3.How do you clean your toilet?

 

a) Disinfect the flush handle, seat and rim every day and use a lavatory cleaner and brush every few days (0 points)

 

b) Use a brush and lavatory cleaner every month or so (2 points)

You should be using a lavatory cleaner and brush on your toilet (including seat, handle & rim) every few days.

 

c) Don’t bother with lavatory cleaner and just have a quick scrub when the toilet looks dirty (2 points)

You should be using a lavatory cleaner and brush on your toilet (including seat, handle & rim) every few days.

 

d) Never clean it (3 points)

You should be using a lavatory cleaner and brush on your toilet (including seat, handle & rim) every few days.

 

Did you know?

The greatest risk of infection in the bathroom comes from the surfaces that are frequently touched by the hands, including the toilet flush handle and seat, taps and door handles.

 

 

4.When you have finished cleaning the bathroom and toilet, do you:

 

a) Rinse out the cloth, disinfect it and leave it out to dry (0 points)

 

b) Fold the cloth and place it in the bathroom cupboard (1 points)

When using a cleaning cloth, always rinse it out, disinfect it and leave it out to dry.

 

c) Leave the cloth in a wet heap by the loo (2 points)

When using a cleaning cloth, always rinse it out, disinfect it and leave it out to dry.

 

d) Take the cloth back to the kitchen and use it on kitchen surfaces (3 points)

When using a cleaning cloth, always rinse it out, disinfect it and leave it out to dry.

 

Did you know?

Although the kitchen sink can contain 100,000 times more germs than a bathroom or lavatory, most people think of the toilet as the most contaminated part of the house.

 

 

5.When you wash the dishes, do you:

 

a) Not use a washing up bowl but wash the dishes under running water (0 points)

 

b) First wash the chopping board and utensils used to prepare raw foods, then replace the water before washing cups and plates (0 points)

 

c) Use the same water for everything (2 points)

Raw meat and eggs contain potentially harmful bacteria. Always wash items used to prepare these foodstuffs thoroughly and separately.

 

Did you know?

Although the kitchen sink contains 100,000 times more germs that a bathroom or lavatory, most people think of the toilet as the most contaminated part of the house.

 

 

6.When you prepare raw meat, do you:

 

a) Immediately clean surfaces, utensils and wash your hands before preparing any other food (0 points)

 

b) Use a different board for the other ingredients (1 points)

When preparing raw meat, don’t forget to wash worktops, boards and utensils thoroughly with hot soapy water, before preparing other ingredients.

 

c) Prepare all the food using the same chopping board and utensils (2 points)

Use separate chopping boards for raw meat as it contains harmful bacteria that can spread very easily to anything it touches.

 

Did you know?

Up to 50% or more of the chickens we buy are contaminated with either salmonella or campylobacter. Thorough cooking makes the meat safe to eat, but it is important to prevent any of these germs being transferred to 'ready to eat foods' while you are preparing the chicken for cooking.

 

 

7.How often do you launder the tea towel?

 

a)Daily (0 points)

 

b) Weekly (1 points)

Use a freshly laundered tea towel each day. Put them on the radiator to dry after use.

 

c) Monthly (2 points)

Use a freshly laundered tea towel each day. Put them on the radiator to dry after use.

 

d) Annually (3 points)

Use a freshly laundered tea towel each day. Put them on the radiator to dry after use.

 

 

8.When do you disinfect the kitchen sink sponge, brush or cloth?

 

a) After each use (0 points)

 

b) Daily (1 points)

Reusable cloths, sponges and brushes should be washed in soapy water, disinfected and dried after each use.

 

c) Once a week (2 points)

Reusable cloths, sponges and brushes should be washed in soapy water, disinfected and dried after each use.

 

d) Once a month (3 points)

Reusable cloths, sponges and brushes should be washed in soapy water, disinfected and dried after each use.

 

Did you know?

A used kitchen sponge can contain thousands of bacteria per square inch, including E. coli and salmonella. The sponge’s moist micro-crevices are a trap for germs and are difficult to disinfect. Replace them regularly.

 

 

9. When it comes to the washing machine, do you:

 

a) Wash sheets, towels and underwear at 60C or 40C with a bleach based laundry product (0 points)

Remember to run the washing machine empty once a week, either at a high temperature or with a disinfectant to prevent germ growth.

 

b) Bung it all in at 40C and with whatever detergent is in the cupboard (1 point)

Don’t forget to wash undergarments with a bleach based detergent or over 40C

 

c) Often forget and leave laundry in the drum (2 points)

Don’t leave your laundry in the washing machine as any remaining germs can multiply rapidly.

 

d) Use the launderette (2 points)

If using shared laundry facilities, such as a launderette, use a bleach-based product.

 

Did you know?

Clothes, towels and linen can carry germs. Washing very soiled items at a high temperate reduces the risk of infection. You should always wash your hands after handling dirty laundry.

 

 

10. How clean is your flooring? Do you:

 

a) Vacuum and mop with detergent weekly and try to clean carpets with detergent and a steam cleaner, periodically (0 points)

 

b) Vacuum and mop when the floor looks grubby (2 point)

Floors need to be vacuumed and mopped weekly – maybe more in a house with young children and/or pets.

 

e) Never clean it (3 points)

Floors need to be vacuumed and mopped weekly – maybe more in a house with young children and/or pets.

 

Did you know?

Carpets are the largest reservoir of dust in the home. They contain hair and skin cells, food debris, dirt and insects. A home with floorboards is believed to have a tenth of the dust of one with wall-to-wall fitted carpets.

 

Wearing outdoor shoes inside the home, spreads germs liberally about, increasing the risk of infection. Hygiene experts recommend taking your shoes off before walking round the house.

 

 

11. How would you sum up your approach to pets?

 

a) “They’re part of the family. We share food, they’re allowed anywhere in the house and they sometimes sleep in my bed” (3 points)

Always wash your hands after touching your pets and they bedding, toys or food.

 

b) “They are restricted to certain rooms but I use the same dishes, utensils and tin openers when feeding them” (2 points)

Always use and store pet-related items separately and don’t forget to wash your hands after any contact with your pet.

 

c) “I’m careful to use separate dishes, utensils and tin openers and I always wash my hands after contact with them and their things.” (0 points)

 

d) “I don’t have any” (0 points)

 

Did you know?

Campylobacter is carried by about half of all dogs and cats and it can cause food poisoning in people. The bacteria are passed on when you stroke your pets. Always wash your hands after coming into contact with pets.

 

 

RESULTS

 

             

0 to 5

Well done, you’ve got high standards of cleanliness. Not only does your home look and feel clean and tidy, it is also hygienically clean. By doing a little cleaning everyday day and focusing on the areas most at risk of harbouring germs, you're reducing your risk of picking up a nasty infection. Keep up the good work.

 

5 to 10

You've got the right idea but are you doing enough to keep the germs at bay? Bacteria, viruses and fungi carry disease and only targeted hygiene will protect you from infection. That means getting rid of as many germs as possible, where and when there’s a risk of them spreading and causing infection.

10 to 15

Your heart just isn’t in it. The fight against infectious diseases such as MRSA and E. coli starts at home. You need to focus on targeting germ hotspots such as kitchen cleaning cloths to break the chain of cross-contamination, so you can reduce the risk of transmitting infections.

15 to 30

Your home could be a health hazard. You and your family may be at risk of picking up a nasty infection from bacteria, viruses or fungi that have taken up residence. You need to act quickly if you want to stay healthy.

             

 

Useful links on home hygiene

 

Want to learn more about home hygiene? Here are some useful links to get you started:

 

How to prepare food safely

 

10 ways to prevent food poisoning

 

How to store food safely

 

Keep your home clean

 

How to prevent germs from spreading

 

Beware of common household germs

 

Food and hygiene facts

 

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NHS Choices 2011