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Avoid Germs: 5 Germ-Ridden Public Places

8/15/2011 3:02:54 PM

Tags: natural health, germs, bacteria, public bathrooms, restaurants, shopping carts

Germs are everywhere. Thanks to easy, homemade natural cleaners, keeping your home germ-free is simple. But avoiding germs in public places? Not so easy. High-traffic objects such as pay phones, door handles and light switches are germ hot-beds, receiving thousands (if not more) touches a day. Reduce your exposure by knowing which surfaces harbor the most germs. And remember: Don’t panic. They’re just germs.

1. Restroom door knobs 

While most public restrooms receive a daily cleaning, it’s not likely that the restroom door handles are part of that wipe-down. Protect yourself by using a spare paper towel to grasp the handle.

Pancake House Menu 
Many restaurant menus are never cleaned, making them a haven for germs. Photo By Jenn/Courtesy Flickr. 

2. Soap dispensers 

Door handles aren’t the only public restroom component that escape routine cleaning. Many soap dispensers in public bathrooms are refilled without ever being cleaned out, meaning the soap you use to wash your hands could be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.

3. Restaurant menus 

Menus can pass through hundreds of hands each day, but unlike other oft-used restaurant commodities—silverware, dishes, cloth napkins—menus are rarely wiped down, meaning you could unintentionally be ordering a side helping of the cold virus with your salad and soup.

shopping cart handles 
More than two-thirds of all shopping cart handles, which are rarely cleaned, are contaminated with bacteria. Photo By Yves Damin/Courtesy Fotolia.

4. Lemon wedges 

Next time the waiter asks if you’d like a slice of lemon with your water, you might want to pass. A 2007 study found that almost 70 percent of lemon wedges that come with beverages at restaurants are contaminated with germs, including E.coli and fecal bacteria.

5. Shopping carts 

If you think public restrooms are dirty, then watch out for shopping carts! More than two-thirds of all shopping carts are contaminated with fecal bacteria—more so than can be found in the average public bathroom.

Germs gather in large numbers in certain areas of your home as well. To learn more about germ hot-beds in the home, check out the article, “Your Home’s 10 Germiest Places.”

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