Top Germ Hot Spots You Should Avoid

By Rebecca Jones

The average person touches thousands of objects and surfaces every day. Unfortunately many of these surfaces are covered with harmful germs and bacteria. Here is a list of some of the biggest germ hotspots you are likely to encounter on a typical day out in public.

At the Grocery Store

In 2007 the University of Arizona tested shopping carts and found that over 60-70% of all handles were contaminated with E. coli. They are also frequently contaminated by leaking food packages and people with colds and flues.  Next time you go grocery shopping be sure to bring some sanitizing wipes with you and avoiding eating anything until you can get home to wash your hands.

In a Public Bathroom

While it may seem hard to believe it turns out 25% of soap dispensers are contaminated with fecal bacteria. Bacteria can grow on the soap scum that builds up around a dirty soap dispenser and since they are touched by dirty hands all day there is a constant source of new bacteria for it to feed on. When possible carry hand sanitizer with you so that you c an avoid using public faucets and soap dispensers. The other dirtiest place in a public restroom is the door handle so be sure to use a paper towel to open the door on your way out.

At a Restaurant

Dining out can feel like a luxury but don’t let a pretty interior fool you; you still need to be on the alert for germs. Restaurants almost never wash their menus so think about how many hands of handled that menu before it was given to you. Make sure never to rest them on your plate, napkin or silverware and wash your hands before your meal arrives. Another bad offender is the fruit that ends up in your water or cocktail. Most often the fruit is not washed before being put on the rim of your glass and your server probably is not putting rubber gloves on to retrieve one piece of fruit. Next time you order a drink ask them to leave out the lemon. Finally watch out for condiment containers.  There’s no way of knowing who’s handled that innocent looking bottle of ketchup on your table or whether or not they contaminated the ketchup itself. Whenever possible look for individual packets of condiments and always use hand sanitizer after pouring.

At the Mall

Try to avoid touching hand rails on stair cases or escalators the sheer volume of people that touch them, everyday makes them highly contaminated. Also look out for hard flat surfaces like the tables in the food court. Cold and flu germs can live up to 18 hours on these surfaces so always wipe down tables with a sanitizing wipe when possible and try to use handrails as little as possible.

While it may seem impossible to avoid all the germs awaiting you when you leave the house just being aware of what you touch can be half the battle. Maintaining good hand washing practices and avoiding a few germ hot spots will go a long way toward warding off illness and infectious disease.