We all know there are germs everywhere but sometimes we might forget how dirty some of those objects we frequently touch can be.
Paper money is crawling with bacteria and contaminated with enterobacteria, streptococcus, pseudomonas and even traces of e.coli and yet we all handle paper money constantly.
Even our own homes are filled with germs, no matter how clean we keep them, but they are somehow our own germs and we get used to them especially if we have strong immune systems.
Germs are categorized by four types: viruses, bacteria, protozoans and fungi
It is the germs when we are out and about that we need to watch out for. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer on you and preferably carry a small packet of wipes which you can use if you really need to. Then when you get home, give your hands a good wash with soap and water. You will then be well prepared.
Here are those sixteen
1. Buttons on ATMs, vending machines, elevators and more are probably rarely cleaned and a hot spot for germs.
2. Handrails and door knobs are what people constantly touch whether they carry germs or not. Again they could be cleaned very infrequently if at all. Avoid touching handrails altogether if you can do so and be safe. Otherwise pull your sleeve down and rest that on the handrail or use your sleeve to open a door. If you really have to touch them, please be careful not to touch either your mouth, your nose or your eyes before washing or sanitizing your hands.
3. Everyone seems to have realized about shopping cart handles and many stores now provide disinfecting wipes for you to use. I suspect that with all the wiping that goes on, the once maligned shopping cart handles are now much cleaner than many other places on this list!
4. If you are using a restroom, take a piece of paper towel to turn on the faucet so you can wash your hands (or take the opportunity to wash the faucet yourself) and use it to turn off the faucet again and to turn door knob to get out so your hands remain clean.
5. When travelling, your car can have very suspect areas such as the seats, the controls, the door handle, the trunk and worst of all the carpet to the trunk with just about everything under the sun being dumped there. By the same token, a taxi, a train ride or catching the bus will have those same health hazards.
6. The gas station when you go to fill your tank has pump handles constantly being used. How often do you think they get cleaned unless perhaps from the rain?
7. Airplane tray tables are used several times a day, day after day and may not always be cleaned thoroughly. At least on a flight you have some time, so use a disinfecting wipe to clean your tray, the control buttons, and any other surfaces.
8. As for airplane bathrooms, these can be a real nightmare on a long haul flight with almost non stop use and minimal cleaning. You will have to decide how you can minimize the risks. I suggest washing you hands before you come out and then usmg a hand sanitizer as soon as you are out of the bathroom as a back-up!
9. If you are staying at an hotel on your travels, take off the bedspread and store away. This is not likely to be washed so often. Sheets and pillowcases are usually especially clean.
10. Telephones, whether in your hotel room or out in public, are more than likely to be contaminated with germs.
11. I have mentioned door knobs before but don't forget those in your hotel room and bathroom along with other handles.
12. Remote controls are notorious for being breeding grounds for germs because people use them all the time even when they are eating and they could well be forgotten in the room cleaning routine.
13. When you turn light switches on and off in public places, use the back of your hand while the ones in your hotel room should be wiped before you start to use them.
14. So you have settled into your hotel room – everything is now clean and then it is off to a restaurant to eat and another minefield of germs! Tables are usually kept well disinfected by staff between guests, but bar counters and outdoor tables might not be so well looked after and could probably do with a wipe down.
15. Then be wary of all the condiment containers on the table – salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup and more. These could be handled by many patrons on a daily basis without being cleaned.
16. And the final suggestion is the menu itself. Think about how many handle the menu and apart from keeping your own hands off it, don't let it contaminate the crockery, glasses and silverware already laid out on the table either!
Good luck with keeping comparatively germ free when you are out and about or travelling and if you pick up a few germs along the way, it is certainly not the end of the world.
We have not even touched on hospitals and super bugs but with earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear fall out, there is much more to worry about these days!