9 Things You Shouldn't Share
Think about it: A child’s diapered bottom may have, moments before, been plastered against the very seat where you’ve just placed your broccoli. And mommies, do you want to set your child down on the same surface that previously held raw chicken? grocery cart covers,
Grocery-store shopping carts are rife with germs, says Chuck Gerba, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona who’s taken samples from shopping carts throughout the U.S. “We were surprised to find that 80 percent of the carts have E. coli on them in some parts of the country,” he says. E. coli is a fecal bacterium that can be transmitted by contaminated hands. Gerba’s team also found bacteria and viruses that could lead to colds, flu and diarrhea. What’s more, a recent study showed that placing children in shopping carts was related to their getting Salmonella infections.
Gerba found that shopping carts are more contaminated in regions where germs flourish because of moist air, cool temperatures or cloud cover, such as the Northeast, Northwest or muggy South. Germs are less likely to accumulate on shopping carts that sit outside in areas where there is dry heat and direct sun.
To avoid germs while grocery shopping, disinfect your shopping cart’s handle and child seat with a wipe, or sanitize your hands before and after you shop. Use products with the words “disinfect” or “sanitize” on them, because the Environmental Protection Agency has approved those terms, Gerba says. Gerba advises against placing your child in the shopping cart seat. If you do, he says to use a disposable barrier product that has a disinfectant on it rather than a cloth product that will only serve to smear the germs around. disinfect your home naturally,
The next time you need to withdraw money or decide to use the self-checkout aisle at the grocery store, make sure you have travel-size hand sanitizer handy. Touch-screens and keypads are covered with more contaminants than anything else he’s tested, Gerba says. “We were surprised to find that one-fourth of the grocery-store self-checkout touch-screens have E. coli on them,” he says. In addition to other more common bacteria and viruses, several of the touch-screens he tested contained strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium that is highly resistant to several antibiotics. MRSA can cause serious skin infections and sometimes lead to death.
Gerba recommends avoiding the self-checkout aisles when possible. Gerba conducted limited testing on ATM screens, finding that those sitting outside in hot, dry climates carried fewer germs than those that were in moist climates or indoors. Bring a disinfectant wipe to clean a screen before you use it or to clean your hands afterwards. avoid atm fees, sanitizer effective,
You’re about to spend the night at a friend’s house, but forgot your toothbrush. Especially if your friend is a romantic partner, you may be tempted to use his or hers—after all, you’ve been kissing already, so it’s probably OK, right? Wrong.
“You abrade your skin when you brush your teeth,” Gerba says. “I wouldn’t share a toothbrush, not even with someone you are kissing.” Blood-borne disease, such as hepatitis B and C, and HIV, can be transmitted through a toothbrush, whereas they are less likely to be transmitted through kissing. You can also pick up someone’s respiratory or other illnesses, such as a cold or the flu, by sharing a toothbrush.
If you are a mere night away from gum recession or otherwise can’t stand to go without brushing, there are ways to disinfect the brush. Gerba suggests boiling a toothbrush in hot water or using an ultraviolet light system or sanitizing solution made for this purpose. how to sanitize your toothbrush,
You are at a movie with a friend and afterward step into the bathroom to freshen up before drinks. Should you share her brush while standing at the vanity mirror? Hairbrushes are out for sharing as well, Gerba says. “Germs get on your skin, and skin flakes into your brush,” he says. “This is another situation where you abrade your skin.” He says he’s found MRSA and other germs on hairbrushes.
And what about using brushes at your hair stylist’s salon? Make sure they disinfect their brushes at the end of each day to minimize germ transfer.how to avoid infection at the beauty salon, germs on hair brushes,
You’ve met an interesting colleague at a conference and are exchanging contact info. Should you borrow the pen she offers from her purse? Personal pens are rife with germs, because most people put them in their mouths, Gerba says. “You can pick up respiratory viruses, mouth infections—a lot can be spread by the mouth,” he says. Gerba’s studies have shown that teenagers’ pens carry the most bacteria.respiratory viruses,
Surprisingly, pens at checkout lines in stores were less germy. This is probably because they are wiped down daily and people are less likely to put the pens in their mouths when standing at the cash register. Gerba suggests you carry your own pen, or have a disinfectant wipe available to clean a pen before use.sanitize your office, types of mouth infections,
Now you have a great excuse for why you didn’t call home to check in; just say your phone battery died and you didn’t want to get sick from borrowing a friend’s phone. Cell phones are covered with contaminants, and people rarely, if ever, clean them. Gerba’s studies have found MRSA and other bacteria, along with influenza viruses, on cell phones.bacteria on cell phones,
Women’s cell phones are dirtier than men’s, he’s found. “We did notice that women’s phones tend to be germier,” he says, guessing that this could be due to germs carried in makeup, or due to the fact that women as a whole have more colds per year than men. “Statistically, women have close to three colds each per year, if they have children in the household, whereas men have closer to 1.5 colds per year,” Gerba says. When borrowing a phone, wipe it down with a disinfecting cloth and wash your hands after. how many colds do children have each year, disinfecting wipes,
Razors are also on the no-share list. Shaving creates nicks and cuts, whether you see them or not, and blood on someone’s razor can be transferred to your body when you shave. “Any time you have a chance of cutting the skin, you have to be careful,” Gerba says. So if you are visiting friends or family and you forgot your razor, don’t use the one that’s in their shower. Don’t even use your partner’s razor. “I would never share a razor with anybody,” Gerba says. “Blood-borne diseases are serious. A person could be a carrier of a disease such as hepatitis B all your life and not even know it.” hepatitis b symptoms, blood-borne disease,
When you are shopping and need to freshen your face or moisten your lips, stick with your own tubes of makeup rather than dipping into samples at a store’s makeup counter. A two-year study found high levels of bacteria in the majority of skin, eye and lip makeup samples at drug and department stores. Contaminants found ranged from staph bacteria to E. coli. The makeup was tested on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. More contaminants were found on Sundays, compared with Fridays. So, if you find yourself out with a desperate need for color, avoid lipstick and eye makeup and dip in weekdays only for other items, once the bacteria have started to die off after heavy weekend traffic.Bacteria in cosmetics at department stores,
If you’re kicking back in a hotel room, or watching basketball at a neighbor’s house, slip out a disinfectant wipe before using the remote. TV remotes are rarely cleaned and carry numerous germs, Gerba says. “They are loaded with germs,” he says. “They are often the germiest object we find in a house, and we’ve found some pretty dirty ones in hotel rooms, too.” TV remotes are an easy germ target because people get lazy washing their hands after going to the bathroom. Gerba has found viruses and E. coli and other bacteria on TV remotes in hotel rooms, homes, hospital rooms and nursing homes.germs in hotel rooms,