Flickr photo by alancleaver_2000The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but did you know it could be making you sick?
Studies have shown the kitchen is far dirtier than most bathrooms.
But before you start cutting your veggies over the toilet, The Stir asked Dr. May Mohty, Urgent Care physician with Cigna Medical Group, for tips on how to up your healthy kitchen quotient.
What's the most common kitchen injury or illness that lands people in an emergency or urgent care facility?
The most common injuries from working in the kitchen that bring patients to the urgent care or ED are lacerations and burns. I see a lot of cuts to the hands from people trying to cook, especially if they're using a brand-new knife.
Also I see a lot of lacerations from washing glass cups (when the inside of the cup is being washed and the glass accidentally shutters). I also see cuts/stabs to the hand when someone tries to take a pit out of an avocado by stabbing it with a knife and the knife slips and stabs his/her hand.
Burns happen when cooking with oil that splatters, when steam burns the hands or face, when the inside of a hot oven or a hot pot is touched. The worst are burns to the hands of children who put their hands over a hot stove top when not properly supervised by an adult.
Is there any one appliance that's just germ-infested that people are overlooking?
One kitchen appliance that's germ-infested is of course the sink/garbage disposal because that's where everything from vegetables to meats gets washed and drained.
Other items that are infested with germs are sponges and the wash rags, as well as cutting boards if they're not washed well with soap and hot water.
What are the health risks that come from not keeping your kitchen clean?
Keeping the kitchen clean will provide a healthy place to cook and eat. If the kitchen isn't kept clean then germs like Salmonella, E. coli, or Campylobacter can be contracted and will cause illness. This is especially important when using a cutting board for meat then using the same board to cut fruit or vegetables.
Are there any tips to kitchen cleanliness that can make the difference in your health?
- All surfaces including the counter top and the cutting board have to be washed thoroughly after each use.
- Also use a degreaser to clean the sink daily so you can remove food particles on which bacteria can grow.
- Use antibacterial soap and keep a hand sanitizer for everyone who walks into the kitchen.
Has a kitchen accident landed you in the ER?