As cold and flu season kicks off, we all become more conscious of germs in our midst. (Or at least we should.) But cold and flu germs are the least of our worries.
Scientists have found deadly microbes—like MRSA, E. coli, and C. diff—on surfaces we touch every day. These five are some of the germiest:
1. Restaurant Trays
Microbiologists from The National Sanitation Foundation swabbed 26 different public surfaces. Then they tested them for bacteria. Restaurant trays were the second most germ-infested public surface…right after public park sandboxes.1 I’m talking about the trays you’d see in a cafeteria-style eatery. And they serve more than lunch…
These are the same trays you’d see in a cafeteria-style eatery. And they serve more than lunch… They may carry anything from cold and flu viruses to coliform.2 That’s a type of bacteria that indicates the presence of human or animal waste. It can cause dysentery, hepatitis A, and other major infections.3
2. Electronic Controllers
One study found that device controllers can harbor five times more germs than a toilet seat.4 That may include MRSA bacteria, which can live for days—even weeks—on video game controllers and TV remotes.5 That’s because most people aren’t likely to clean them as often as, say…the toilet.
MRSA is not something you should take lightly. An infection can become life-threatening if it spreads from your skin to your heart or lungs.6
3. Soap Dispensers
You’d think a soap dispenser would be clean. But a study found that 25% of soap dispensers in public restrooms have fecal bacteria on them. This could include C. difficile bacteria—C. diff for short. It produces symptoms that aren’t just annoying—like having to run to the restroom 15 times a day. C. diff can also cause kidney failure.7
4. Grocery Carts
Scientists from the University of Arizona swabbed the handles of 85 shopping carts in four different states. Not only did 72% of them test positive for fecal bacteria… Fifty percent carried more E. coli than a supermarket restroom.8 That’s the main bacteria responsible for causing food poisoning.
5. Airplane Tray Tables
If you’re a frequent flyer, this one is perhaps the worst of all… Due to pressure on flight staff to provide a quick turnaround, airplanes are seldom given a deep cleaning. Researchers found cold viruses, influenza, MRSA, and E. coli hiding on planes.9
Tray tables are among the most contaminated surfaces on board because almost every passenger touches them. Flight attendants say they have even seen people use tray tables as baby diaper changing stations.
But you don’t need to live in a bubble to stay safe. You don’t even need to avoid these items.
The best—and simplest—thing you can do is wash your hands. It doesn’t just protect you, it prevents the needless spread of deadly germs to others.
It’s also a good idea to carry all-natural, nontoxic sanitizing wipes and sprays with you. You can use them on hard surfaces as well as on your hands. They’re easy to find online using the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.10
But you’ll want to avoid soaps and sanitizers with triclosan on the label. It may exacerbate things by breeding drug-resistant bacteria.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch