Thursday, January 25, 2007

8 Ways to Avoid Germs

From (I get updates emailed!) comes
8 Ways to Avoid Germs
(You’ll Be Shocked by How Close Germs Are)

Germs — bacteria and viruses — not only threaten us, they can kill.

New scientific evidence is emerging that such germs have been linked to heart disease and even cancer.

Do you have a program for limiting and reducing the number of germs that touch your body?

The winter cold and flu season may be upon us, but fighting germs is a yearlong effort.

Recently, WebMD magazine offered some helpful tips for minimizing your chances of picking up a bad bug. Some of their findings are most surprising!

Here are some ways to stop germs:

1. Don't Touch the First Floor Elevator Button!

In an elevator, the first-floor button harbors the most germs because more people touch it than any other button. If you can, let someone else push it so you don't have to touch it, said Charles Gerba, Ph.D., professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona.

If you're alone, use your elbow instead of your finger to press the button. [Use your elbow even if others are there. Be safe — don't be worried about what others think!]

2. Dangerous Shopping Cart Handles

Shopping cart handles are prime culprits in the spread of germs. Some supermarkets now offer germ-killing towelette dispensers in the cart area. Bring your own if they don't. Use them to sanitize the cart handle. And never put fresh produce in the cart seat, where diaper-aged children often sit.

3. Watch Those Escalator Handrails

Escalator handrails are loaded with germs. Don't touch them if you can manage without it, Gerba advises.

4. Use the First Toilet

Research shows that most people use the middle stall in public bathrooms, so avoid those. More use means they're the dirtiest and have the most germs.

5. Office Coffee Pots Dripping With Disease

Your office coffee pot and mug may have been cleaned with a sponge dripping with germs (more on these later). Hang on to your own mug, and use a dishwasher when it's time to clean it. Another trick: Keep apple cider vinegar in the office and pour a water-cider solution through the coffee machine weekly. It will help kill bacteria.

6. Kitchen Woes

Be aware that kitchen sponges, dishcloths, the kitchen and bathroom sinks, cutting boards, and even the bathroom floor carry more germs than the toilet seat.

New research suggests that if you want to sterilize your sponge, put it in the microwave for two minutes.

A team of engineering researchers at the University of Florida found that two minutes of microwaving on full power killed or inactivated more than 99 percent of bacteria, viruses or parasites, as well as spores, on a kitchen sponge.

7. Your Desk Is Dirtier Than the Toilet

Get this: The typical office desk area has 400 times the amount of bacteria than the average toilet seat. Worst offenders: first, the office phone. Then the desk. Finally, the keyboard. Use a disinfectant wipe to clean the desktop, computer keyboard, and phone.

8. Avoid Hand Shaking, Kissing

This may be an impossibility for some. But, try to avoid shaking hands or kissing during the flu season.

While there are many steps in preventing disease, perhaps the most important is to wash your hands frequently.

Fighting Germs

Scrub your hands with warm water and soap for at least 15 to 20 seconds after using the bathroom; eating, working or playing outdoors; playing with pets; or coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Anything less than 15 seconds won't do the job.

Incredibly, 95 percent of people say they wash their hands after using the bathroom, but only 67 percent really do it. Worse, only 33 percent bother to use soap, and only 16 percent wash their hands long enough to remove germs.

One last caveat: Everyone is doing the "antibacterial craze" — getting soaps and wipes that kill germs. Dr. Russell Blaylock suggests occasional use of these products is fine, but frequent use may be bad.


The antibacterials also kill the good bacteria on your skin that your body needs to defend against the bad bacteria.

Seems like some good advice. Stay healthy, Friends!


defiant_infidel said...

WOW! Good one, Benning! I knew most of them, but it was still hard to read them and eat my lunch, too!

benning said...

Yeah, some of 'em are a tad out there! First stall, eh? LOL

Gotta practice limbering up so I can hit the buttons with my elbow. :D

Anonymous said...

I was waiting for "don't have children" to show up on the list.... : )

I was aware of the anti-bacterial soap use issue. Off the subject of germs and onto anti-biotics - I've heard the same type of argument here, but not with killing good germs as much as the possibility of anti-biotics not working as well because of too much use. something like that anyway.

FYI: I haven't picked the book up since last weekend (almost lost the house this week until I got real creative).

Take it easy

Brooke said...

Ooh, don't forget that when washing up in a public lavatory to turn the water off with a paper towel... Everyone touches it with dirty hands to turn it on.

Also, the door handle. I use a paper towel and toss it to the garbage can.

WomanHonorThyself said...

hey Benning..avoid handshaking and way!..LOL

Anonymous said...

You can also put your kitchen sponge in the dish washer to kill the germs. I've always disliked the tradition of handshaking. Very germy.