If you're one of 22 million people setting sail on a cruise ship vacation this year, you should listen up! Even though cruise lines have taken steps recently to raise the bar on their health and sanitation practices onboard, germs always find a way in the picture when you're living in such close conditions with other travelers and crew. The last thing you want during treasured vacation time is getting sick with a case of GI or foodborne illness. Especially keep in mind that alcohol gels and wipes do NOT kill Norovirus, the leading culprit of cruiseline outbreaks. Here are a few things to think about before you take a sip of that piña colada….
Food Safety Audits - What To Do Next?
When an internal food safety audit reveals holes in your safety and sanitation processes, take heart. Considering the frequency of foodborne illness outbreaks, product recalls and food poisoning lawsuits, identifying potential problems before they occur is a good thing. Fixing small issues prevents them from ballooning into major incidents involving alienated vendors and customers, damaged brand reputation, and regulatory violations.
It’s the height of flu season, and just trying to avoid coughing co-workers in the office or plant facility may not be enough to stave off a case of the flu. Bad bugs can spread very quickly through the workplace.
According to the American Association of Port Authorities and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, cruises are a $37.85 billion industry in the United States, with the annual number of cruise passengers averaging well over 20 million. That’s a lot of people willing to be isolated with their new closest friends on a boat in the middle of the ocean. With all of these bodies in one relatively small space for days at a time, the chances for spreading germs around are high. The spread of norovirus is typically associated with cruise ships because the close living quarters increases the amount of group contact. Most of us have heard of the recent virus outbreaks on cruise lines, so how can you prevent being the next big news story involving wide-spread illness on a cruise ship? Other than choosing not to cruise, take a look at these cruise ship hygiene tips, including cruise ship hand washing and ways cruise lines can improve their VSP scores.
The Unhealthy Habit
There are few items more ubiquitous than the little bottle of hand sanitizer clipped to a purse or student backpack, the big jug of it in the workplace or classroom, and even dispensers in medical offices or supermarkets. However, the dangers of hand sanitizers are not well known, even to the people who depend on them to help stop transmission of some of the most dangerous pathogens known to the medical profession.
Hands and History
The definition of hygiene would be different in each century you go back to over the course of human history. For a Roman of the first century, cleanliness meant soaking for hours in baths of various temperatures, scraping the body with a metal scraping blade, and applying olive oil to the skin.
With the explosive growth in the spread of Norovirus and other pathogens, the role of the team lead or manager in the food chain supply and logistics field has expanded to cover personnel hygiene. From the plant operations manager to the manager at the corner market or sandwich shop, keeping your team healthy by training them in hygienic practices not only protects your team from foodborne illness, but also protects the general public, too.
We all remember what we learned in elementary school: Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom. It's as adults that we let important lessons slide or take short cuts, but as cold and flu season approaches, it's time to revisit this very basic topic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, washing your hands with soap and water is the most important and most effective step in preventing the spread of contagious diseases, both inside and outside of clinical settings. At home, at work or anywhere in your day, it's a good idea to keep your hands clean. Simple hand washing tips can help keep you and everyone around you from exposure to such pathogens as Norovirus, MRSA and even the H1N1 influenza virus that cannot be eradicated as thoroughly with hand sanitizer as with soap, water and proper hand washing. It is important to note that gel hand sanitizers should only be used when soap and water is not available.