Some surprising (and not-so-surprising) places to pick up germs

By: Health Local Staff Nov 14, 2011
  Article
germs

With flu season upon us, it’s a great time to be mindful of all of the places germs love to hide.

Many of the places germs hide are right out in the open. We just might not consider them to be a breeding ground for these little misery-causing bugs.

One of the most common places to find germs might be in your hand at this very moment: your cell phone. We use them all the time and they are absolutely teeming with germs. Now, for the worst part: A toilet seat is often cleaner than a cell phone. That little tidbit of information is rather disturbing to say the least.

One of the best ways to think of where to find germs is to consider whether a lot of people touch a particular item. Unfortunately, not everyone washes their hands as often as needed and the germs left behind become a virtual recipe for the flu or worse.

Germs in the Workplace
As with your cell phone, the receiver of your desk phone is full of germs, especially if you have to share that phone with others. Your keyboard, mouse and desk should all be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner. The cleaner should be allowed to dry instead of being wiped away. If you must share a workspace, be sure to repeat the disinfectant as needed.

Out and About
Almost everywhere you go, people are touching things: ATM machines, elevator buttons, light switches and door knobs just to name a few. If you think you might be likely to encounter any of these things during cold and flu season, it’s a good idea to keep some disinfectant wipes with you to wipe surfaces, light switches, etc.

Shopping
Lots of people consider shopping a form of therapy. You may stop thinking of it that way when you consider the places that germs are lurking when you shop. Escalator hand rails, shopping carts, hangers and clothes racks have all been touched hundreds, if not thousands, of times and are absolutely full of germs.

The Soda Fountain
Tests routinely performed on soda fountains – especially self serve ones – in fast food chains habitually show traces of, are you ready? Fecal matter. Yes! It seems as patrons come out of the restroom with their unwashed hands, they head straight for the soda fountain and spread lots of their germs. Although you might look silly, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to wipe down the soda fountain before you use it.

Around the House
We all know that bathrooms are rather germy places, but did you know that your kitchen sink is actually dirtier than the one in your bathroom? Uncooked foods need to be handled extra carefully and your sink should be cleaned well afterward.

Travel
Airplanes, trains, buses and other forms of public transport are breeding grounds for germs for sure. Being in an enclosed space with any number of people carrying a virus or other bug is not a comforting thought, yet it happens all the time. The best advice is to wipe down any surfaces with disinfectant wipes, be sure to drink enough water to try to avoid an upper respiratory infection, and to wash your hands well and often with antibacterial soap.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.