Flu and Cold Germs

You Don’t Know What You’re Missing

Whatever you happen to be touching right now is probably infested with germs. Cellphone. Computer keyboard. Tablet. Bacteria will linger virtually everywhere they make contact and multiply as much as possible. Not surprisingly, the most frequently used items harbor the greatest number, and variety, of germs. This time of year, that means lots of cold and flu germs. Yep, it’s a dirty world.

You can’t eliminate all the germs, either. They’re in your home. They’re at your workplace. They’re in public places. They’re outside, too, from city streets to mountain trails. It’s your job to avoid them — unless you enjoy being sick.

The way to avoid germs is to 1) know where they are liable to be, and avoid touching those places when possible, and 2) disinfect all the places you can where germs gather. Here is a look at some of the worst culprits.

The largest breeding ground for germs in your home is the kitchen sponge. (Dishrags are dangerous, too.) Sponges are such fertile ground for bacterial growth that the FDA has banned their use in commercial kitchens. And women’s purses are a virtual zoo of bacteria picked up from everywhere they’re set down. Think about it, ladies: How often do you set your purse on the floor, or a public counter, and then set it on the kitchen table when you get home?

Two of the worst places in public are in restaurants — the menus and the seats. It’s best to order your meal, and then go wash your hands. Pretty much all the condiment containers on your table are viable breeding grounds, as well. The other public places with the most germs are doorknobs and elevator buttons, grocery carts, airplane bathrooms and (no surprise here) doctors’ offices.

Along with doors and elevators in the workplace, break rooms are veritable breeding grounds for bacteria, too. Buttons on snack and beverage machines and microwaves are pretty nasty. So are desktops — especially other people’s! And then there’s a long list of office machines — both shared and personal. And you wondered why you caught a cold.

Protect yourself and your family, especially during the cold and flu season this time of year. Disinfect your bathroom and kitchen weekly. Get a flu shot. Avoid crowds when you can. Wash your hands often. Now you know why your mama taught you to wash your hands before eating!