The 7 Germiest Public Places

It is possible for a person to touch about 30 things in one minute from daily and normal activities.

This heightens the chance of contracting and spreading germs to and from all these objects if in a public setting. But there are ways to avoid being infected by knowing the more obscure places germs hide other than door knobs, light switches, and bathroom surfaces. Here are 3 out of 7 listed by ABC News:

Restaurant menus…..
Studies from the Journal of Medical Virology reports germs like the cold and flu viruses can survive for up to 18 hours on a hard surface. When dining in a public place, be conscious to not let the menu touch your flatware and wash your hands after you return it.

Lemon wedges
The Journal of Environmental Health discovered 70 percent of restaurants had contaminated bar fruit with microorganisms like E. coli, fecal bacteria, and other disease causing microbes. By opting out of the garnish for your beverage is a good way to prevent ingestion.

Condiment dispenser
Many people do not wash their hands before eating and they can spread their germs to bottles at the condiment stand. When grabbing for the ketchup, a paper napkin is not sufficient due to the abilities for microorganisms being able to pass through.

Restroom door handles
Don’t think you can escape the restroom without touching the door handle? Palm a spare paper towel after you wash up and use it to grasp the handle. Yes, other patrons may think you’re a germ-phobe–but you’ll never see them again, and you’re the one who won’t get sick.

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Soap dispensers
About 25% of public restroom dispensers are contaminated with fecal bacteria. Soap that harbors bacteria may seem ironic, but that’s exactly what a recent study found. “Most of these containers are never cleaned, so bacteria grow as the soap scum builds up,” says Charles Gerba, PhD. “And the bottoms are touched by dirty hands, so there’s a continuous culture feeding millions of bacteria.” Be sure to scrub hands thoroughly with plenty of hot water for 15 to 20 seconds–and if you happen to have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, use that, too.

Grocery carts
The handles of almost two-thirds of the shopping carts tested in a 2007 study at the University of Arizona were contaminated with fecal bacteria. In fact, the bacterial counts of the carts exceeded those of the average public restroom. Swab the handle with a disinfectant wipe before grabbing hold (stores are starting to provide them, so look around for a dispenser). And while you’re wheeling around the supermarket, skip the free food samples, which are nothing more than communal hand-to-germ-to-mouth zones.

Airplane bathrooms
When Gerba tested for microbes in the bathrooms of commercial jets, he found surfaces from faucets to doorknobs to be contaminated with E. coli. It’s not surprising, then, that you’re 100 times more likely to catch a cold when you’re airborne, according to a recent study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research. To protect yourself, try taking green tea supplements. In a 2007 study from the University of Florida, people who took a 450-milligram green tea supplement twice a day for 3 months had one-third fewer days of cold symptoms. The supplement brand used in the study was Immune Guard ($30 for 60 pills; immune-guard.us).

Doctor’s office
A doctor’s office is not the place to be if you’re trying to avoid germs. These tips can help limit your exposure.
1. Take your own books and magazines (and kid’s toys, if you have your children or grandchildren with you).

2. Also pack your own tissues and hand sanitizers, which should be at least 60% alcohol content.

3. In the waiting room, leave at least two chairs between you and the other patients to reduce your chances of picking up their bugs. Germ droplets from coughing and sneezing can travel about 3 feet before falling to the floor.

Source: ABCNews February 20, 2011

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