20 March 2015
As South Africans prepare for the annual Easter trek to coastal or inland holiday destinations, motorists are cautioned to drive safely in a bid to reduce the familiar long weekend carnage on our roads.
Aside from the dangers faced by road users while traveling, there is another kind of potential danger that lurks in the rest stops frequented by road travellers on the way to their final destination.
“Cleaning your hands with antibacterial soap and water or hand sanitiser after using roadside bathrooms is the single most important thing travellers can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness all the way to their holiday destination,” said Rika van Rooyen of hygiene solutions provider Bidvest Steiner.
The influenza virus, for example, can survive on toilet handles, doorknobs and taps for between two to eight hours. “Imagine the potential for an outbreak of disease along a major high-traffic thoroughfare, such as the N1 or N3, should users of roadside facilities fail to practice proper hand washing,” said Ms Van Rooyen.
The fact that travelling families are often accompanies accompanied by small children and elderly relatives who are particularly vulnerable to infection, magnifies the importance of effective hand washing at roadside rest stops. “Properly cleaning your hands helps prevent the spread of the common cold, the flu, meningitis, hepatitis A and diarrhoea,” explained Ms Van Rooyen.
A study conducted at Harvard Medical School found that families who used a hand sanitiser with an alcohol base were 59 percent less likely to experience a gastrointestinal disease than those who did not.
Ms Van Rooyen provided several hints and tips below that South Africans should abide by while using public rest room facilities this holiday season:
The best combination is to wash first with hand soap, dry properly and then finish with a high quality hand sanitiser.
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