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Beware of Sani(tation) Claus

Gerald W. Deas | 12/21/2011, 7:29 p.m.
Halloween will make your child scream

I'm sure that during this holiday season, all of us will be eating foods that were prepared by other hands, whether it be relatives, coworkers, caterers or those in the restaurant business.

Most folks are considerate in their preparation, with hands that are sanitized. By the way, in order to make hands almost germ-free, one should wash them in hot, sudsy water for at least 20 seconds. This washing will ensure the elimination of certain bacteria such as E. coli, which is usually picked up from the gastrointestinal tract.

I'm sure that you have seen the required signs in restrooms stating: "Employees must wash their hands." I am really not sure how this request is adhered to. If the restroom is not supplied with adequate hot water and soap, beware!

What really bothers me are the blowing systems that are used to dry hands after washing them. It is impossible to get the hands completely dry before touching doorknobs to leave the bathroom. You can bet that your hands pick up many germs from the door handle.

Food handlers should be made aware of how contamination on hands can spread to food products. I'm often surprised to observe on television how the host handles food with ungloved hands and never washes them.

I am really interested, during this holiday season, in protecting the health of Santa Claus, who might take a taste of the food that is left for him under the tree for his generosity while giving out toys. If that morsel of food is contaminated and he eats it, he may fall into trouble with gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, which is associated with nausea and vomiting due to E. coli contamination. We know that this bug can cause your colon to become irritated, resulting in a dance known as "squeeze and shuffle."

Santa has a great deal of work to do delivering his toys to good boys and girls; it is very important to keep him free him from this contamination (mom or dad, take heed). If Santa gets sick, it will take more than eight little reindeer to help him deliver the rest of the toys. It will be more than a sleigh ride, because he will be slipping and sliding through the snow trying to hold up his pants.

If you become a victim of food poisoning due to E. coli contamination, resulting in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, it is important to control the diarrhea with medication such as Imodium, which can be purchased over the counter. Fluid replacement is necessary with products such as Pedialyte, Gatorade and chicken broth with salt.

I hope all of you who are Sani-Clauses will take heed to this most important advice concerning hand sanitation and allow Santa Claus to do his job on Christmas Eve.