The germiest places in your spaces!

I found this article on Today MSNBC and thought it was really great since a lot of people don't realize all the places that carry so many germs. I also added a few of my own.

Sure, there are outbreaks of microbes and viruses across the country, but some of these germs are lurking where you least expect them. Health magazine senior editor Frances Largeman-Roth pinpoints the 12 germiest places you’re likely to encounter during an average day and devises ways for you to keep clean. After all, the fight is in your hands. Literally. Eighty percent of infections are spread through hand contact. So wash up, people, and get ready to wage a bit of germ warfare of your own:

1. Your kitchen sink Kitchen sinks are dirtier than most bathrooms. There are typically more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch in the drain alone. Plus your sponge, basin and faucet handles are crawling with bacteria as well.

2. Airplane bathrooms It may not be a shock that there are a huge number of germs in most public bathrooms, but experts agree the cramped and overused ones on airplanes are the worst. There are often traces of E. coli or fecal bacteria on the faucets and door handles because it’s hard to wash hands in the tiny sinks. And the volcanic flush of the commode tends to spew particles into the air, coating the floor and walls with whatever had been swirling around in it.

3. A load of wet laundry Any time you transfer underwear from the washer to the dryer, you’re getting E. coli on your hands. Just one soiled undergarment can spread bacteria to the whole load and machine.

4. Public drinking fountains Drinking fountains are bound to be germy, but school fountains are the worst, with anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot.

5. Shopping cart handles Saliva, bacteria and fecal matter are just a few of the substances found on shopping cart handles. Cart handles rank high on the yuck scale because they’re handled by dozens of people every day and, of course, raw food carries nasty pathogens. 

6. ATM's If you’re not careful, you might pick up more than quick cash from your local ATM. These buttons have more gunk on them than most public-bathroom doorknobs! ATMs aren’t frequently cleaned, and are regularly touched — a perfect combination for a lot of germs. 

7. Your handbag Recent studies found that most women’s purses had tens of thousands of bacteria on the bottom and a few were overrun with millions. Another study found bugs like pseudomonas (which can cause eye infections) and skin-infection-causing staphylococcus bacteria, as well as salmonella and E. coli.

8. Playgrounds Children tend to ooze bodily fluids and then spread them around. When researchers sampled playgrounds, they found blood, mucus, saliva and urine. Pair those findings with the fact that children put their fingers in their mouths and noses more than the rest of us, and it’s easy to understand why Junior (and maybe his mom or dad) has the sniffles.

9. Mats and Machines at Healthclubs Antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus has been found on yoga mats and cardio and resistance machines. At high schools, antibiotic-resistant-staph infections have been transmitted through wrestling mats. The same thing could happen at health clubs.

10. Your bathtub Shocking, but true: The place you go to get clean is quite dirty. A recent study found staphylococcus bacteria, a common cause of serious skin infections, in 26 percent of the tubs tested, as compared with just 6 percent of garbage cans. Tubs typically had more than 100,000 bacteria per square inch! You’re washing germs and viruses off your body and the tub is a fairly moist environment, so bacteria can grow

11. Your office phone This is enough to make you dial 911: Office phones often have more than 25,000 germs per square inch, and your desk, computer keyboard and mouse aren’t far behind. Phones, including cell phones, can be pretty gross because they get coated with germs from your mouth and hands.

12. The hotel-room remote control What’s the first thing you do when you settle in at a hotel? You grab the remote control and switch on the TV — you, and the hundreds of other guests who’ve stayed there. How dirty is it? A recent study tested various surfaces for the cold virus after a group of sick people had stayed overnight and found the virus on the remote, door handles, light switches, pens and faucet handles.

13. Shower Heads Experts say there is evidence linking showers to NTM.  A study headed by professor Norman Pace at UC Boulder found that 30 percent of shower heads harbor significant levels of disease-causing bacteria. "You can find this bacteria in shower heads and faucets," said Dr. Carol Fichtenbaum of the Infectious Disease Center at UC Health. NTM is a waterborne bacteria. To help prevent the problem experts suggest removing and soaking shower heads in a germ-killing cleaning agent. You can also increase the temperature in your water heater to 140 degrees to kill harmful bacteria. Read full story

A Few of My Own: Gas Pumps, Computer Mouse, Pens you use in Stores to Sign for your Credit Card Purchase, Home Remote Controls, Toilet Handles, Money, Cutting Boards, Cell Phones.

So what can you do to protect yourself?
  • Carry a bottle of sanitizer in your car and a small bottle in your purse
  • Use sanitizer after pumping gas, handling money, signing for card purchases, handling doors, before eating in a restaurant
  • Before handling a shopping cart at the store, wipe handle with disinfecting cloth
  • Soak a paper towel with lemon oil and use on bathroom fixtures and toilet seats
  • Mix 12 drops of lemon oil in a spray bottle with water and spray your home
  • Use the lemon oil mixture to clean your counter tops
  • Of course, hand washing is the single best defense against germs!


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