Have you touched any of these ordinary things? You’d better wash your hands…NOW!
In our daily lives, we encounter many items that, although seemingly harmless, can hide a world of bacteria and germs. The simple act of touching these mundane objects could expose us to potential health hazards.
That’s why it’s vital to be vigilant and adopt an important habit because it’s as simple as it is effective: Wash your hands. From doorknobs to cellphones, these unsuspecting offenders could harbor microbes waiting to catch us off guard.
So join Indulging Health as we delve into everyday hygiene and discover why the mantra “Wash Your Hands” should be on everyone’s minds after encountering these 10 potentially gross items. Let’s prioritize our health and well-being, one handwash at a time!
Recent research indicates that escalator handrails fall just behind food court tables and restroom sinks, the filthiest objects in all malls. When scientists tested the hard rubber cover that makes up a rail, they found a menagerie of disgusting items.
This includes mucus, food, blood, urine, and feces. They’ve even discovered potentially pathogenic bacteria, like E. coli, and bugs standard to the upper respiratory tract.
Taking the stairs seems like a good solution to this problem until you remember you’ll have to deal with a bunch of other handrails. And the elevator is a germ incubator with bacteria-infested buttons.
So it’s best to stick with the escalator and wash your hands as soon as possible…and maybe stay away from the handrail.
You probably don’t always wash your hands after touching your pets or any other animals. But you definitely should, according to experts. Animals can carry various diseases, they say.
And because pets are typically thought of as family-friendly, hand-washing is oftentimes overlooked. Washing your hands after touching animals or interacting with your pets is essential.
First, your washing machine receives dozens of clothing pieces every time you do laundry. That means it must clean an area far more significant than your hands. And don’t think that a dirty sweatshirt carries fewer bacteria than skin.
According to germ experts, one load of undergarments transfers roughly 500 million E. coli bacteria to your washing machine.
If you’re using a front-loading machine, which can’t continuously remove all the water from a wash cycle, these bacteria sit there until it’s time for the next load. The bottom line is that you’re washing dirty clothes with contaminated water.
A better solution is to wash your whites first with chlorine bleach. Next, put in a load of underwear, using hot water and a color-safe bleach substitute.
Once a month, you should add vinegar or bleach and run an empty cycle. This sanitizes your machine and helps lower the bacteria found on your clothes. And, of course, wash your hands after doing laundry.
Restaurants and cafes can be a few of the most common places you’re most likely to catch a virus. But the menu is the worst carrier.
Researchers at the University of Arizona took some swabs of some restaurant menus to find they that they carried a remarkable 185,000 bacterial organisms. It makes sense since many people touch menus, including staff who take other customers’ soiled flatware and dishes.
You might not be able to avoid touching a menu, but be sure to wash your hands after you put your order in. If you order from a QR menu, wash your hands, you’ll find out why in a bit.
When you’re driving, microbial infection is the last thing you’re thinking about. But you should wash your hands well when you get to your destination. Why? Because the main word in “manual transmission” is “manual.”
Even if you’re taking a short trip, your hand spends a lot of time on the knob and picking up microorganisms that might be thriving there. A 2010 experiment supports this idea.
Scientists swabbed 12 common items in a suburban family’s home, then tested those items for bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli, and two types of molds, penicillium and aspergillus. One of the things they tested was the gearshift knob of a family car.
It turns out that the gearshift was contaminated with high levels of bacteria and mold. The researchers concluded that drivers pick up mold spores on their way to their cars.
They then take those spores into the vehicle and seal themselves in with those contaminants. If you suffer from respiratory issues, driving over the speed limit may be the least of your worries.
Handrails, doorknobs, and handles
A dermatologist at Columbia University Medical Center in NYC says that one of the most crucial times to remember to wash your hands is after riding public transportation, where many individuals continuously touch the same surfaces.
This includes everything from subway poles to escalators’ handrails to bathroom door handles.
Cutting boards and kitchen sponges
We already know that the kitchen is a pretty germy environment. After all, you’re not only bringing in uncooked food but also moving around germs from utensils, food, and textiles, like kitchen sponges and towels.
A study found as many as 326 different species of bacteria living on kitchen sponges. So be sure to throw out the old ones and always wash your hands before prepping a meal and after handling raw meats.
Now that technology has replaced many paper products, washing your hands after touching screens is essential. Scientists say that one of the worst offenders is kiosk machines in public transportation locations or airports.
Germs are everywhere, and some surfaces can harbor more than you may realize. And cell phones count, too, especially if we share them with others. The good news, though, is that simple washing with soap and water will lower transmission of these pathogens.
After using the facilities, especially in public facilities, you need to wash your hands, right? But what if we told you that the soap in the dispenser next to the sink has as many germs as the public toilet you used?
This isn’t such a far-fetched question, according to researchers at the University of Arizona.
After sampling 132 soap dispensers that were refillable in public restaurants and restrooms, they found that 23% were contaminated with bacteria, including Serratia marcescens, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Klebsiella pneumoniae.
These are all pathogens, which means they’re capable of causing disease. What’s even more disturbing is that researchers don’t think the germs are prevailing in spite of the soap. They believe that the bugs are metabolizing chemicals in the soap to thrive.
So, what do you do when you get out of a public restroom stall? Look for dispensers that have sealed disposable bags, which tend to be bacteria-free. If they aren’t available, carry some alcohol-based Clorox Bleach-Free Hand Sanitizer and use that on your hands instead.
Anything in a doctor’s office
Due to a never ending parade of patients passing through all day, most things in a doctor’s office are a sanctuary for germs or bacteria, especially that sign-in pen. In fact, there are 46,000 more bacteria and germs on that pen than on the average toilet seat.
Other secretly nasty spots to avoid are the waiting room chair armrests, and the door handles.
Have you ever thought about this matter? And how often do you wash your hands? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
And if you found this post informative, be sure to also read: 10 Common Flu Hotspots You Should Avoid in the Next Couple of Months