Germs viral, bacteria, or fungal can remain active on most surfaces for several days. This includes surfaces made of stainless steel, wood, plastic, or even paper in a magazine. What most people consider to be the germiest surfaces may not be so bad, while some of the most germ-ridden areas are not what most people expect. Most people consider Port-a-Potties and public toilets to be the worst places in terms of surface germs. However these don't even come close to what you'll find on ATM machines, phone receivers, and elevator buttons.
Recent tests studies reveal just how germ-ridden some of the surfaces that people touch every day can be. Here are the Germ Hot Spots:
- 71% of gas pump handles
- 68% of mailbox handles
- 43% of escalator rails
- 41% of ATM buttons
- 40% of parking meters
- 35% of crosswalk buttons and vending machine buttons
Other germ surfaces:
- Public soap dispensers
- Airport bathrooms
Keep in mind that when you touch a surface it is transmitted to your hands. Then if you touch your eyes or rub your nose or lips, or when you eat or in any way get your fingers in contact with a mucous surface,...you have infected yourself.
At home, the kitchen sink is one of the places with the most germs - harboring more germs than the bathroom! The most contaminated sites are those that tend to remain moist. The dishcloth, toilet bowl, garbage can, refrigerator, and bathroom doorknob are also high on the list.
What about work? Follow these tips on how to keep your computer "germ" free:
Hot spots for germs in the office:
Think about all the "public" surfaces you touch on your way to work – railings, door handles, coins and tokens, cash machines, elevator buttons and more. Then, when you get to your destination, washing your hands probably isn't the first thing you do. Instead, you probably grab a cup of coffee and turn on your computer. If you power up before you clean up, all the germs and bacteria that commuted with you are transferred from your hands to your workstation. Ugh! And then, if someone else sits down at your computer, you've got all the germs that tagged along with them, too.
Before you begin, remember the two golden rules of computer cleaning:
- Be sure the computer is off before you clean any part of it – keyboard, monitor screen, mouse, printer or housings.
- Never spray cleaner directly onto any part of the computer. Spray it onto a cloth, and then gently wipe.
Keyboard: Clean the keys with a cleaning wipe or a cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner. Make this the first thing you do every morning before you turn on the computer. To remove the dirt, dust and other debris that gets caught between the keys, turn it upside down and shake gently to dislodge the particles. An air duster is also a great aid in removing all these bits and pieces that get lodged inside the keyboard.
Mouse: It's also a good idea to clean the mouse before the start of the workday. Use a cleaning wipe or a cloth sprayed with an all-purpose cleaner.
Monitor: Use a microfiber cloth, either dry or dampened with clean water, or a product specially formulated for computer screens. If you use anything else, you run the risk of damaging the screen. Clean the monitor several times a week, as a dirty monitor can cause eyestrain.
Surrounding surfaces (including computer housings and desktops): Since there are probably coffee and food stains lurking amidst the dust, use an all-purpose cleaner with a disinfectant.
Printer: Consider how often you push the button on the printer and how seldom you think about cleaning it!
Telephone: Even if you're the only one using it, it's still transmission central for germs and bacteria that cause ear, nose and eye infections. Clean it daily using a hard-surface disinfectant cleaner or a wipe.
Wash your hands frequently and always before you prepare to eat food or touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Carry gel sanitizer with you to use on your hands after touching a strange surface. There is such a thing as overdoing it when it comes to hygiene so balance is the answer. Keeping your hands clean is the best way to avoid becoming sick from germs.
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