Germ Hot Spots

December 11, 2016

We are all surrounded by bacteria. Yes, there are bacteria everywhere, even in the most unimaginable places. Disease-causing bacteria are called pathogenic. These come in many forms and can cause illnesses from an ear infection to strep throat to cholera. They can get into our bodies via our mouth and nose, or through cuts and scrapes. Do you know what places and things you use everyday are the most contaminated?

 

We are all surrounded by bacteria. Yes, there are bacteria everywhere, even in the most unimaginable places. Disease-causing bacteria are called pathogenic. These come in many forms and can cause illnesses from an ear infection to strep throat to cholera. They can get into our bodies via our mouth and nose, or through cuts and scrapes. Do you know what places and things you use everyday are the most contaminated?

 

1. Your phone

Dr. Charles Gerba, from the University of Arizona, explains that a phone, especially in an office, would have 400 times more germs than the bathroom sink. This is because when talking we spit saliva droplets that stay on the phone, also, it is impregnated with bacteria from our skin. If many people use the phone, it becomes a spreader of flu and other diseases.

 

2. Your work computer

 A keyboard contains up to 5 times more germs than a toilet, including bacteria and viruses. "Computers and common areas in the office could be a major source of illness among workers", says Dr. Peter Wilson of the University College London. It is recommended to clean keyboards, mice and telephones with disinfectant wipes, daily. Turn off your device and wipe it with a cloth, but avoid chlorine based disinfectants, because it would damage the equipment.

 

3. Restaurant Menus

Headed to the most popular restaurant in town? Think about the hundreds of people that have touched the menu you’re about to handle. Think about it – have you ever seen anyone wipe down those menus? Never let your menu touch your silverware or plate, and wash your hands after you place your order.

 

4. The gym

"Many people use the gym equipment in one day, one after another, and each left there sweat and germs that they bring in their hands or shoes", says Dr. Philip Tierno, University of New York, "Therefore, a shower is needed after training, and avoid any dangerous germ bear.” We're always exposed to millions of viruses and bacteria, but our skin protects us from many of them, the biggest problem occurs when germs enter the body, for example, if we eat or touch our eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.

 

5. Shopping cart

The shopping carts are contaminated with E. coli, salmonella and other bacteria. "A cart would have more bacteria than the toilet from the supermarket," says Dr. Gerba. "The bacteria come there from the people who use the cart with dirty hands or by children sitting in the basket, then these bacteria would goes to our hands and even our food.”

 

6. Restroom Door Handles

If you’re diligent and wash your hands before each meal, you still need to avoid bathroom door handles. A 2005 study found that 82% of people DO wash their hands, but those 18% are the ones you want to avoid. My bathroom technique is to touch as few things as possible. Flush the toilet with your foot and after washing your hands, open the door handle of the restroom with paper towel – they’re more substantial than napkins and help avoid contract with gross surfaces.

 

7. Pets

Pets, like cats and dogs, are loaded with thousands of bacteria and parasites. You can get various germs from your pets if you do not wash your hands after getting in touch with them or after cleaning its waste.

 

8. Your toothbrush

Your toothbrush may contain bacteria that collect in the mouth or reach it by other means, and the main danger is when we provoke a wound or laceration during brushing, since bacteria may enter and cause an infection it could get worse. So your brush does not become a biological threat, put every seven or 15 days in a solution containing 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide, and leave it there for a few minutes. It is also important that you keep it away from other brushes, and do not brush your teeth very strong, to avoid injury to the gums.

 

9. The kitchen sink

"The kitchen sink has more bacteria than many bathrooms: about 5 million per square inch," says Dr. Kelly Reynolds of the University of Arizona. In addition to the sink, cutting boards and sponge or cloth you use for cleaning are also places where germs are stored. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing with bleach or very hot water, any cloths, sponges and jargon you use to clean your kitchen; also they advise cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant solution to prevent bacteria remain there and contaminate food or utensils.

 

10. Gas Pumps

As if the price of gas weren’t painful enough, 71% of gas pump handles are contaminated with germs that can make you ill. These studies cited by Dr. Gerba of the University of Arizona, whose colleagues call “Dr. Germ,” had me thinking twice about filling up! Keep wet naps in your glove compartment, and cover the handle before you pump.

 

 The importance of hand washing

The truth is that we cannot turn away from germs, but we can reduce the risk of affecting us. Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of illnesses. For Dr. Glatt, "Hand washing is the most effective way to limit exposure to bacteria and dangerous germs, so that the washing is effective you have to rub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and rinse thoroughly."

 

 

 

Dr. Charles Gerba, from the University of Arizona, explains that a phone, especially in an office, would have 400 times more germs than the bathroom sink. This is because when talking we spit saliva droplets that stay on the phone, also, it is impregnated with bacteria from our skin. If many people use the phone, it becomes a spreader of flu and other diseases.

 

2. Your work computer

 A keyboard contains up to 5 times more germs than a toilet, including bacteria and viruses. "Computers and common areas in the office could be a major source of illness among workers", says Dr. Peter Wilson of the University College London. It is recommended to clean keyboards, mice and telephones with disinfectant wipes, daily. Turn off your device and wipe it with a cloth, but avoid chlorine based disinfectants, because it would damage the equipment.

 

3. Restaurant Menus

Headed to the most popular restaurant in town? Think about the hundreds of people that have touched the menu you’re about to handle. Think about it – have you ever seen anyone wipe down those menus? Never let your menu touch your silverware or plate, and wash your hands after you place your order.

 

4. The gym

"Many people use the gym equipment in one day, one after another, and each left there sweat and germs that they bring in their hands or shoes", says Dr. Philip Tierno, University of New York, "Therefore, a shower is needed after training, and avoid any dangerous germ bear.” We're always exposed to millions of viruses and bacteria, but our skin protects us from many of them, the biggest problem occurs when germs enter the body, for example, if we eat or touch our eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.

 

5. Shopping cart

The shopping carts are contaminated with E. coli, salmonella and other bacteria. "A cart would have more bacteria than the toilet from the supermarket," says Dr. Gerba. "The bacteria come there from the people who use the cart with dirty hands or by children sitting in the basket, then these bacteria would goes to our hands and even our food.”

 

6. Restroom Door Handles

If you’re diligent and wash your hands before each meal, you still need to avoid bathroom door handles. A 2005 study found that 82% of people DO wash their hands, but those 18% are the ones you want to avoid. My bathroom technique is to touch as few things as possible. Flush the toilet with your foot and after washing your hands, open the door handle of the restroom with paper towel – they’re more substantial than napkins and help avoid contract with gross surfaces.

 

7. Pets

Pets, like cats and dogs, are loaded with thousands of bacteria and parasites. You can get various germs from your pets if you do not wash your hands after getting in touch with them or after cleaning its waste.

 

8. Your toothbrush

Your toothbrush may contain bacteria that collect in the mouth or reach it by other means, and the main danger is when we provoke a wound or laceration during brushing, since bacteria may enter and cause an infection it could get worse. So your brush does not become a biological threat, put every seven or 15 days in a solution containing 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide, and leave it there for a few minutes. It is also important that you keep it away from other brushes, and do not brush your teeth very strong, to avoid injury to the gums.

 

9. The kitchen sink

"The kitchen sink has more bacteria than many bathrooms: about 5 million per square inch," says Dr. Kelly Reynolds of the University of Arizona. In addition to the sink, cutting boards and sponge or cloth you use for cleaning are also places where germs are stored. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing with bleach or very hot water, any cloths, sponges and jargon you use to clean your kitchen; also they advise cleaning surfaces with a disinfectant solution to prevent bacteria remain there and contaminate food or utensils.

 

10. Gas Pumps

As if the price of gas weren’t painful enough, 71% of gas pump handles are contaminated with germs that can make you ill. These studies cited by Dr. Gerba of the University of Arizona, whose colleagues call “Dr. Germ,” had me thinking twice about filling up! Keep wet naps in your glove compartment, and cover the handle before you pump.

 

 The importance of hand washing

The truth is that we cannot turn away from germs, but we can reduce the risk of affecting us. Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of illnesses. For Dr. Glatt, "Hand washing is the most effective way to limit exposure to bacteria and dangerous germs, so that the washing is effective you have to rub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and rinse thoroughly."

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