Have you noticed that everyone seems to be carrying sanitized wipes or bottles of sanitizer these days? A lot of health care offices even have dispensers in their exam rooms. Not to make you even more paranoid, but here’s some other places that germs may be lurking that you may not have thought of.
Restaurant menus-think about it. All the customer’s handle the menus, pass them back to the waitress who then stacks them back up. Are they even wiped off? Never let a menu touch your place setting or your silverware. Also wash your hands after placing your order since you’ve touched the menu.
Lemon wedges-Now I love lemon in my water and squeeze it in every chance I get. However, did you know that in a study done by the Journal of Environmental Health about 70% of lemon wedges hanging on the edge of glasses in a restaurant contained about 25 different micro organisms, including E. coli and other fecal bacteria? If you want lemon, use it at home or bring your own.
What about that ketchup bottle sitting innocently on your table? A lot of people don’t wash their hands before eating, so their germs are on that bottle just waiting to pounce. Holding the bottle with a napkin won’t help because napkins are porous. Use a disinfectant wipe or squirt hand sanitizer on the outside of the bottle and clean it off.
It’s not just the restroom door that you have to be concerned about, what about the soap dispenser? Most of the dispensers are rarely cleaned so bacteria grows on the soap scum build up. The bottoms are touched by dirty hands so the germs and bacteria have a free-for-all. Be sure to scrub your hands thoroughly with plenty of hot water for 15-20 seconds and if you have a alcohol based sanitizer, use of squirt of that too.
When you see the disinfectant wipes at the grocery store for shopping carts, use them. There are more bacteria on the handle of a shopping cart than in an average public restroom. Most of the grocery stores have them right in front of the store for easy access.
Then there’s the doctor’s office, the germ exposure there is off the charts. It just isn’t the coughing and sneezing but it’s all the magazines that have been handled by other people, most of them sick, and you’re picking them up to read. Take along your own book or magazines. Bring your own tissues. While you’re waiting, try to keep two chairs between you and the next person. Germ droplets from coughing and sneezing can travel about three feet unchecked before diving for the floor.
Make sure that your hand sanitizer and wipes are at least 60% alcohol to be effective. People may think you’re a germ-a-phobe, snicker and make jokes. However, you’ll have the last laugh when they’re sick and coughing and you’re sailing through flu season in the best of health.
By Linda Lee Ruzicka
Linda Lee Ruzicka lives in the mountains of Western PA , happily married and with her 8 cats and three dogs. She has been published in Twilight Times, Dark Krypt, Fables, Writing Village, June Cotner anthology, The Grit, Reminisce , the book, Haunted Encounters: Friends and Family. She also does freelances work for Beyond and Healthcarejobsite. You can read more of her blogs on Healthcarejobsite blog.