Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Germiest Places In Your Life

Germs are very common in our lives. They are at home, work, the gym, your car etc. However, there are several places that are host to large amount of germs. Many of these places you wouldn't expect to be covered in germs. So clean them more regularly, sanitize them or avoid them all together. Here they are..

The TV remote. Remotes are touched by so many people, especially in hotels. You don't know who has stayed in the hotel room before you and they could've left you some germs. So wipe off your TV remote with an antibacterial wipe at home every couple of days. Or if you are in a hotel, wipe it off immediately. While you're at it, wipe off the door handles, light switches and faucet handles. Also put on socks/slippers and throw off the bedspread (urine and semen have been found on both), these will not make you sick - it's just gross!

You phone. Germs from your hands and they outside world end up on your phone then by your mouth, ears and nose. Phones can have more than 25,000 germs per square inch. Make sure to wipe off your phone everyday to get rid of those germs.

Your bathtub. It is ironic that the place you go to get clean can be so dirty. Elizabeth Scott, Ph.D., found the staphylococcus bacteria in 26% of bathtubs that she tested. This bacteria can cause serious skin infections. Bathtubs contain around 100,000 bacteria per square inch. This is because we wash the germs and viruses off of our body and into the tub. The tub is a moist environment in which bacteria love to grow. Scott says to apply a disinfecting cleaner to your tub once a week. You will need to scrub, wash the germs down the drain and then dry with a clean towel.

Gym mats and machines. Sweaty people that you don't know have been using this equipment and you don't know what is on them. Wipe down machines before you use them with an antibacterial wipe that they gym should provide. Bring your own yoga mat or cover the one at the gym up with a towel. Shower immediately after a work out to wash away any bacteria that you may have been exposed to.

Playgrounds. Kids often have bodily fluids dripping from them and then they get spread around. Blood, saliva, urine and mucus (just to name a few) have been found on many playgrounds. Then kids often put their hands in their mouths and noses, giving them direct contanct to these germs. What you can do is carry sanitizing wipes or gel and sanitize hands and couple times while at the playground. Then definitely wash your hands with soap and water when you leave.

Your purse. If you are like me, your purse goes everywhere with you including the bacteria you come in contact with. Purses can have up to a million types of bacteria on them, including salmonella and E. coli! Reduce your risk by putting your purse on a hook or chair instead of on the floor. Do not put it on the kitchen counter! You do not want those germs getting in contact with your food. Also, wipe your purse down every few days.

ATM buttons. When I go to the ATM I expect to get cash, not germs. However, most of those buttons have more germs on then than door knobs in a public bathroom. ATMs are not cleaned often, but they are touched quite frequently. Carry hand sanitizer to use after visiting the ATM or handling money which also carries a lot of germs.

Shopping cart handles. I know the first thing I do when I walk into the grocery store is grab a sanitizing wipe BEFORE I even touch the shopping cart. I wipe off the handles and the seat where my purse goes. Saliva, bacteria and fecal matter have all been found on the handles. Put raw meat, fruits and vegetables in a bag to keep these germs away from your food.

Public drinking fountains. Drinking fountains can contain anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot, says Robert Donofrio Ph.D. To avoid these germs, carry your own water bottle with you like I do.

A load of wet laundry. Really? This was a surprise to me, but it makes sense. "Anytime you transfer underwear from the washer to the dryer, you're going to get E. coli on your hands," Dr. Gerba says. Reduce your risk by running your dryer at atleast 150 degrees F for atleast 45 minutes. Also, transfer your laundry quickly so that germs do not have the chance to multiply. Wash your hands after handling your wet laundry.

Airplane bathrooms. Yes, bathrooms carry many germs, but airplane bathrooms especially. This is because there is only about 1 bathroom for every 50 people and they are cramped and overused. When the toilet flushes, whatever germs were in there will literally cover everything in the bathroom. Protect yourself with a toilet seat cover and using a paper towel to flush, turn on the water and open the door so your skin does not come in direct contact with these surfaces.

The kitchen sink. The typical sink contains 500,000 bacteria per square inch. Clean the sink every few days with an antibacterial product or everytime after you prepare raw food. Sponges are also covered in bacteria so run them through the dishwashers drying cycle to eliminate them.

"The Germiest Places in America." - Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <>.

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