Fall brings cooler weather, football, Halloween, Thanksgiving and lots of germs. What are the seven germiest public places and how do you protect yourself?
I will be the first to admit: I am a germ-phobe. I go to great lengths to keep germs at bay and it has paid off. I haven’t had any major colds or the flu for years. How have I been able to avoid being run over by potential germ hazards? Maintaining a vigilant germ awareness, especially in public places where millions of dirty, nasty germs can be found.
What are 7 of the most germ infected public areas and how can you protect yourself?
1) Light Switches. Grab a Kleenex or cover your hand with your long sleeve the next time you flip that switch.
2) Coffee Pot, Toilet, and Door Handles. Again, grab a paper towel or Kleenex first before reaching for that handle. Before there were automatic flushers, I taught my kids to use their foot instead of their hands on toilet handles. A few years back, I purchased this handy gadget that fits on your key ring for all the women in my family. Just press the button and presto– a hook is released that can be used to grab any door handle.
3) Sinks. I learned this trick years ago from a co-worker: Grab your paper towel to dry your hands before you wash your hands at a public sink. Don’t short change washing. Make sure you lather your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (I always sing 3 verses of Row, Row Row Your Boat to insure I’ve scrubbed long enough) and don’t forget your thumbs. Before disposing of your paper towel, use it to open the door on the way out of the restroom.
4) ATM Key Pads. Which key gets the most use – and therefore has the most germs? Why the enter key of course because all transactions require it. Instead of poking with the tip of my finger, I use a knuckle.
5) Drinking Fountains. True story: My husband drank out of a public water fountain the day before our daughter was married. The morning of her wedding, he woke up sicker than a dog. The only thing we could track it to was his drinking out of the water fountain. (To his credit, even though he was feeling horrible, he never let on to our daughter how sick he was and the wedding day came out as planned). Use a paper cup at a water filling station or better yet, bring your own water bottle.
7) Shared Pens. Whether you are at the market, a retail store, or the bank, everyone is throwing their pen at you to sign for transactions. I always carry my own pen. Sometimes it startles people when I refuse to use their community pen but I don’t mind. Better safe than germy.
Some other steps can be taken to fight against germs in public places? Always keep a bottle of anti-bacterial gel on hand. I keep one in every purse and in the glove compartments of all our cars. And lastly, get an annual flu shot. While it doesn’t cover all the nasty fall and winter germs, it does offer some important protection. The one year I didn’t get a flu shot was the only year I got pretty sick.
There’s tons of public places that get a lot of use from a variety of people with a variety of ailments. Stay alert and take precautions. Following these 7 simple steps will go a long way to keeping you germ free this fall — and beyond.
Are you a germ phobe too? What tricks have you come up with to avoid nasty germs?