Ministry at Home: Beating the Bugs

Written by Matt

As a trained microbiologist and past children's minister, I was asked recently asked if I'd found any good ways to stay bug-free while doing ministry at home (especially in the flu season!). Our immune system has been fearfully and wonderfully made, and is incredibly robust, but minimising the amount of work it has to do is a great way to stay bug-free. While there are standards for the kitchens of churches these days, these extend out to the other major hub of ministry: the home!

1) The Front Door: The Hand Shake
When people enter or leave a house, it’s a natural enough thing to do, and I’m not suggesting not doing it. It's worth remembering that there is an exchange of bacteria happening when we do, and preventing illness from a hand shake could be as simple as washing your hands afterwards. My favourite solution is a bottle of alcohol sanitiser (no running water needed) that can be stored near the front door (on a
side note, ministers could keep a bottle in the car after pastoral visits or church services).

2) The Bathroom: The Handy Hand Towel: Bugs love nothing more than a warm, moist environment! If guests use the family bathroom, the best way to avoid sharing bacteria is to not give the bugs room to stay. Avoid using solid soap bars and instead try a liquid soap with a pump dispenser and an obvious hand towel for guests. That way you only have to wash one handtowel at the end of the day instead of all of them!

3) The Lounge Room: The Toy Story I was pleased to see recently that all toys had been removed from doctor's waiting rooms to prevent small people sharing bugs when they
played. I think the same idea could apply to children visiting the Vicarage. Having a designated plastic box with easily cleanable toys (i.e plastic, non-porous toys, wipe-able books, and no stuff toys) could help avoid spreading colds over the flu season.

4) The Living Room: The Paper Trail While handkerchiefs are handy, they can quickly
build up bugs with continuous use. Disposable tissues, used only once then put straight in
the bin are a great (and easy) way to make sure bugs aren't given a chance to stay.

5) The Kitchen: Put The Kettle On Boiling water is your friend. Even though bacteria is getting smarter these days, they are just as susceptible to plain old-fashioned heat and
steam as they ever were. Dish cloths and scrubbers can pick up a lot of bugs on their
travels. While anti-bacterial sprays are great, boiling water is a fantastic, cheap assistant
in keeping your kitchen bug free. When you put the kettle on for a cuppa, simply pour some over the dish cloth or scrubber in the sink after you've finished using them to help contain bugs.

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Do you have any tried and true methods for staying bug-free and minimising clean up?