"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cooking Resources > Food and Kitchen Safety
Click Here to Login
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-04-2008, 10:06 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1
Handwashing after coughing

Can someone direct me to some factual information or definitive statements about the need to and benefits of washing your hands after coughing into your hands while working with food at home?

My question comes as a result of an event (and subequent argument) last night with someone who was working with me at home preparing dinner. The other person coughed into their hands several times and just kept on working with the food. Parts of the subsequent discussion were (1) it was a dry cough and (2) we are around each other "exchanging germs" by virtue of our proximity all the time so this (not washing after coughing into the hands) wasn't going to expose us (me) to anything that we (I) were not already being exposed to.

I have done a bunch of internet searches this morning on "coughing" and "handwashing". I found a lot of generic information and information about working in a commercial/restaurant kithcen, but nothing that comes right out and says "when working with food at home, if you cough into your hands then you need to wash your hands before you do anything else."

Washing is what I think I always do and I don't think I'm acting like Felix Unger, Adrian Monk or a germophobe. (If I am, please feel free to let me know.)


newshound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 10:11 AM   #2
Chief Eating Officer
GB's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: USA,Massachusetts
Posts: 25,509
No you are not being paranoid. You are correct and your friend is wrong. If you cough into your hands then you are transferring germs, no matter how dry the cough is. those germs can then be transfered to food that is touched.

I have started coughing into my bent arm by the elbow. that way my hands are not being exposed.

You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 10:15 AM   #3
Master Chef
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: E. Pa.
Posts: 8,281
CDC Features - Wash Your Hands
LadyCook61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 10:55 AM   #4
Chef Extraordinaire
GotGarlic's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southeastern Virginia
Posts: 21,584
Originally Posted by LadyCook61 View Post
Linked from that page: CDC - Clean Hands Save Lives!

Look under "When should you wash your hands?"

If someone doesn't want to take the time to wash their hands, maybe you could keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the kitchen. HTH.
Anyplace where people argue about food is a good place.
~ Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown, 2018
GotGarlic is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:05 PM   #5
Master Chef
jennyema's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Boston and Cape Cod
Posts: 9,878
There's no such thing as a truly "dry" cough. Saliva always becomes airborn when you cough and saliva can carry infection.

If your friend is only going to wash their hands when they hock up something, I think you need to eat at your house instead!
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
jennyema is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:10 PM   #6
Senior Cook
mozart's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 444
yeah. Wash your hands.
From Wikipedia:

[edit] Droplet Contact

Microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) that cause disease may be transmitted from one person to another by aerosols created when a patient sneezes or coughs

Also known as the respiratory route, it is a typical mode of transmission among many infectious agents. If an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person the microorganisms, suspended in warm, moist droplets, may enter the body through the nose, mouth or eye surfaces. Diseases that are commonly spread by coughing or sneezing include (at least):
mozart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:13 PM   #7
Senior Cook
plumies's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sunny San Diego
Posts: 444
What he said. ^^^^

One more article about hand washing: Hand washing: An easy way to prevent infection - MayoClinic.com

BTW, coughing (as well as sneezing) is the body's way of getting rid of substances that are irritating the breathing passages.
CAB Cooks
plumies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 01:56 PM   #8
Sous Chef
Jikoni's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Kenya and Switzerland
Posts: 861
Someone didn't wash their hands on this site, I am coughing after reading this thread . I always say, wash as you go along. When you cut up meat, wash before you cut onions. Wash wash wash. I am not paranoid either, well I probably am actually after I suffered food poisoning 15 years ago when my flat-mate re-froze a chicken breast and I had to miss my exams after eating the re-frozen chicken breast.
There is no love sincerer than the love of food. ~George Bernard Shaw
Jikoni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 03:19 PM   #9
Chef Extraordinaire
suziquzie's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MN
Posts: 11,488
Send a message via AIM to suziquzie
Gross. I wonder where people think germs come from sometimes. Why on earth would you argue AGAINST washing your hands?!?!
Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
suziquzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 04:36 PM   #10
Chef Extraordinaire
kadesma's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: california
Posts: 21,372
Your friend would be locked out if I were doing a PD exchange here at home..We wear a mask and not only wash hands for a full 15 seconds, we then use a hand sanitizer..I have to have a sterile connection and anyone who coughs or sneezes, would contaminate my field..So, if your friend won't wash, he doesn't get the heck in the kitchen..

HEAVEN is Cade, Ethan,Carson, and Olivia,Alyssa,Gianna
kadesma is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:59 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.