Gerald w. Deas M.D. | , Mph | 12/28/2012, 11:33 a.m.
I'm sure that during this holiday season, all of us will be eating foods that are prepared by other hands, whether it be from 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 sudsy, hot 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 required signs in restrooms stating, "Employees must wash their hands." I am really not sure how this request is adhered to. At this point, if the restroom is not supplied with adequate hot water and soap, beware! What really bothers me are these 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 can pick up many germs from the door handle.
Food handlers should be made well aware of how contaminated hands can spread to food products. I'm often surprised to observe on television how the show host handles food with ungloved hands and also never washes them.
I am also 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 near 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 (also 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 the "squeeze and shuffle."
For Santa, who has a great deal of work to do in delivering his toys to good boys and girls, it will be very important to keep him free 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 due to vomiting is necessary with a product such as Pedialyte, Gatorade or chicken broth with salt.
I hope all of you who are Sani-Clauses took heed to this most important advice concerning hand sanitation, and allowed Santa Claus to do his job on Christmas Eve. Over 30 years ago, I wrote a song that had a Black Santa and was recorded by Brook Benton, titled "Soul Santa:"
Since nobody's seen Santa on Christmas
When he steals down the chimney with care
Wouldn't it be so revealing
If Santa had BLACK KINKY HAIR
I know his cheeks wouldn't be rosy
But you could tell it was cold
When you saw his red underwear peeking
Over his SOULFUL JELLY ROLL
Now Santa is a fine soul brother
He loves all his fellow men
He'll do almost anything for you
At least all that he can
No matter what he looks like
No matter what you've been told
There's one thing about your Santa
He has that thing called SOUL!