The world, at large, is a dirty place. This is because there are millions of germs or pathogens in every nook and cranny of the earth, covering most of the surfaces and objects that surround us. One literally cannot help but come into direct contact with all types of viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing microorganisms that plague these places and objects.
However, there is no need to freak out as our immune system is more than capable of handling a high number of these environmental pathogens. Regardless, it is important to note some of these germ riddled surfaces and places so that extra care could be taken to mitigate the impact of the germs.
This post, in other to instill awareness, will present a list of the 21 germiest places that we can’t avoid including recommendation, towards the end, on how to reduce germ infections.
We all have one. Even if we were to avoid all human contact and live within a completely sterile environment, we would still be exposed to countless strains of bacteria. Believe it or not, the human mouth is home to more harmful pathogens than a dog’s muzzle, and even the cleanest mouth is riddled with hundreds of thousands of individual bacteria.
2) Airport security check:
A recent study has indicated that most germs, in airports, are found on plastic trays at airport security checking. This should not come as a surprise as everyone traveling by plane must go through a security check.
3) Airport Self-Check-In Kiosks:
The self-check-in kiosks that have become so popular in airports around the world provide users with unrivaled levels of convenience; however, they are, without a doubt, one of the dirtiest places in the airport. A recent study detected, on average, more than 200,000 bacteria per unit.
4) Airplane Lavatory:
Still on airports, the next time one travels, one may want to think twice before using the lavatory inside the airplane. Besides the fact that they are cramped, crowded spaces with poor air circulation, airplane lavatories are not regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which means that it is entirely up to the various airlines to decide how best to clean them.
5) Kitchen Sink:
Household kitchen sinks contain an exorbitant number of germs and bacteria. It turns out that no matter how much soap we use when doing dishes, a considerable amount of microscopic food particles remains within the sink where they slowly and silently decompose.
6) Purses and Handbags:
Household experts warn women about the potentially harmful bacteria they carry with them everywhere they go. Purses and handbags are often covered with more harmful bacteria than the average toilet seat.
7) Remote Control:
Next time you find yourself fighting for control of the TV remote, do yourself a favor and let somebody else have their way with it. Few people think of the lowly TV remote when they stop to think about germy hotspots, but with some many hands fidgeting with the device throughout the day, it is no surprise that the remote control might be behind many a case of the common cold.
8) Laundromat Machines:
If you thought washing clothes was a hygienic activity, then sorry to burst your bubble. Studies have repeatedly found traces of both fecal coliform bacteria and cultures of Escherichia Coli inside a home and public washing machines. Most experts suggest using chlorine bleach between loads of laundry to sanitize the machines and reduce the risk of infection.
9) Cutting Boards:
Any surface that comes into contact with raw meat is a prime real estate for harmful germs and bacteria. Household cutting boards, especially if made out of wood, are one of the most common sources of cross-contamination illness in the entire household. Make sure to wash and scrub vigorously between uses.
Some may not want to hear this, but our beloved cellular phones are one of the dirtiest items that we come into direct contact with on a daily basis. That’s right; your cell phone is crawling with bacteria. Why is this so? Well, it’s because we can’t keep our hands off of them. The average person uses their mobile device close to one hundred times per day, and every time we touch them, we transfer bacteria from our hands.
11) Water Fountains:
Water fountains abound in office and school environments. While they provide workers and students with an environmentally friendly way to stay fresh and hydrated, a recent study conducted by the National Sanitation Foundation found that public drinking fountains harbor more bacteria than public bathrooms.
12) Hospital Elevator Buttons:
Doctors recognize that the elevators, inside hospitals, are a significant source of bacterial transmission. it is important to be aware of the potential risk involved in their use because of the high incidence of clinically relevant bacteria that is found amongst hospital patients.
13) Gym Equipment:
What do you think happens when you mix bare skin, sweat, hot bodies, and plastic surfaces, especially at the gym? Well, you get an insane amount of bacteria. Once again, bacteriological studies have found significantly more bacteria, upwards of 74 times, than on public bathroom surfaces.
14) Shopping Cart Handles:
When was the last time you went grocery shopping? It was probably sometime in the recent past, so next time you visit your local supermarket don’t forget the handy wipes because shopping cart handles are coated with layers of grimy bacteria.
15) Office Keyboards:
Researchers out of Arizona University found that office computer keyboards often harbor multitudes of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Make sure to clean your office desktop, keyboard, and other office equipment regularly.
16) Stair Railing:
In this day and age of heightened health awareness, people choose to use the stairs instead of the elevators, and therefore stair railings get covered in dirt, germs, and harmful bacteria.
17) Public Transportation:
Any time you have crowds of random people cooped up inside enclosed spaces bacteria are going to thrive. Public transportation provides various airborne pathogens with the perfect storm of growth conditions. On any given public bus you can find the sick, the tired, the elderly, the infirm, and the accompanying germs.
18) Gas pumps:
You will have to fill up the gas tank sooner rather than later If you drive a vehicle. Gas pump handles are another unavoidable pathogen hotspot. It should come as no surprise since thousands of people come into contact with the pump handles every day.
19) Dish Sponges:
Nobody likes doing dishes after a meal, and this may not change after reading this: If you were trying to grow bacteria for fun, you would be hard pressed to find a better growth medium than the average kitchen dish sponge.
The average person sleeps over 25 years over their entire lifetime. That is over 9000 days spent on their bed. Beds absorb all manners of bodily fluids and therefore get progressively covered in bacteria.
It’s ironic that a utensil used for cleaning is home to so many bacteria. However, the average toothbrush harbors more than 100 million bacterial cells including dangerous Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus cells. While most healthy individuals are fine brushing their teeth, those with compromised immune systems might do well to change their toothbrush often.
In summary, any place or object that is always in contact with the human body is likely prone to germs. And because these places and objects cannot be avoided, this post also lists a few examples of recommended actions that could be taken to mitigate the effects of the disease-causing pathogens associated with some of these places:
A) Frequently wash your hands with soap
B) Sanitize remote control and keyboards every three days
C) Frequently use your carry-on alcohol-based sanitizer.
D) Regularly change toothbrushes. Many dental organizations recommend doing this every 3 months
E) Wash bed sheet at least once a week
F) Dispose of food particles completely and effectively especially in kitchen sinks. Clean sink with kitchen disinfectants. The sink can be flushed with vinegar, lemon juice, and salt water.
G) Wash chopping boards and knives used to cut raw meats thoroughly
H) Use bleaches between laundry washes.
I) Always wipe, with disinfectant, gym equipment before and after use.
J) Always use the grocery shop disinfectants or your carry-on, if it is not provided, to disinfect your shopping cart.