Everyone seems to be sick and unfortunately the flu this year is nothing to sneeze about (pun intended). This year’s influenza strain is hitting hard and while the flu shot can protect you from some strains of the virus, it certainly can’t protect you from all. According to the CDC,“There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing…Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on vaccine) that research suggests will be most common.”
Since none of us are fully protected against germs, we can try to avoid highly germy areas. Here are 10 places where germs hide that would be nice if you could avoid…
Airplane Seat Pockets and Restrooms – Icky germs can last for days on the material in the seat-back pocket of airplane seats. And cramped restrooms are also a favorite place for germs. Hand sanitizer anyone?
Restaurant Menus – Have you ever seen anyone wash a menu? I have not. So think about how many people have touched that menu before you did? And think how many touched it and didn’t just wash their hands? I’d say a lot. So please go wash your hands.
Liquid Soap in Restrooms – You think you are being smart and using soap in public restrooms but one study showed that one in four soap dispenser machines are contaminated with bacteria. Uh, I guess BYOS (bring your own soap?).
ATM Machines – Guess how many people use an ATM machine in an hour? I have no idea but I guarantee you it’s a lot! And many of them will be touching the buttons and spreading a virus without even realizing it. And the flu, for example, can live up to two days on objects. So you have to be worried about the people who touched it two days ago too!
Movie Theatres – You in a crowded confined space where people are coughing and sneezing while you are enjoying your movie. And if the airborne germs don’t get you, think about the people touching the seats with their grubby germ infested hands. Hint – don’t sit in an aisle seat because that seat gets touched by everyone going to their seats so more chance of catching a nasty bug.
Condiments in Restaurants (and your home) – How often do you think someone wipes off the ‘ol ketchup bottle or salt shaker? I’m going to guess not very often. And not only do restaurants not clean them frequently, a study showed that 40% of salt and pepper shakers in homes of subjects who were showing symptoms of the common cold tested positive for a common virus causing the common cold.
Exercise Equipment at the Gym – So you are trying to be healthy and work out. Good for you but one study showed that viruses can stick to exercise equipment even after they’ve been clean.
Public Transit Turnstiles and Machines – Next time you touch a subway turnstile or a bus ticket machine, think of how many sneezy snuffly people have touched it before you. And have you ever seen anyone clean one of these? Me neither.
Office Coffee Machine – As hard as you try to stay away from your sick co-workers, guess what almost everyone touches? Yep, the beloved coffee machine. And yes, it’s full of germs. Might want to get your cuppa joe elsewhere during the cold and flu season.
The Copy Machine – While this may not seem like an obvious one, everyone touches the same buttons so you know that germy co-worker who just coughed into her hand? Yep, she just made 10 copies before you did.