7 places to break out the antibacterial wipes
The best ways to avoid getting the flu are by washing your hands and getting a flu shot. But especially for older adults and others with compromised immune systems, those steps might not be enough.
It’s also a good idea to protect yourself from especially germy places, which might be hiding right in front of you.
What’s for Dinner?
They might look clean enough, but restaurant menus are said to be at the top of the list of germy places to avoid. Of course, if you’re going to order lunch or dinner, you probably have to touch the menu.
To keep yourself safe, head to the bathroom to wash your hands as soon as your order is placed. It’s also perfectly acceptable to break out the antibacterial wipes for a quick swipe – a favor to yourself as well as the next person preparing to place his order.
Make a Germ-free Exit
We all know that public restrooms are at the top of the list of germy places. But once you’ve washed your hands, you’re good to go, right?
You washed your hands, but if the person before you didn’t, the door handle could be laden with harmful bacteria.
To protect yourself, always use a paper towel to open the door.
Show Me the Germs
We can’t avoid touching it, but money – both paper bills and coins – is among the dirtiest things around. The same goes for the buttons on the ATM machine.
Protect yourself by washing your hands or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after handling cash or using the ATM. If possible, use a pen or another object to push the ATM buttons, rather than your bare hand.
You visit the grocery store for milk, bread and eggs, not colds, flu and pneumonia. Yet when you touch that shopping cart handle, these are things you might be taking home with you.
Most grocery stores provide antibacterial wipes at the entrance. Use them to thoroughly wipe down the cart’s handle. Next, be careful not to use the top basket for food – remember, little behinds sit in that seat, along with all of the germs these little shoppers might carry.
Protect Your Produce
How do you choose the perfect peach? By picking them up and smelling them, of course. And that’s what every other shopper has done, too.
When you take your produce home to enjoy, consider how many hands touched it before you. Protect yourself by washing your apples, oranges, peaches and pears (and every other fruit or vegetable) with cold tap water. There are products out there that claim to work better than water to clean your produce, but experts like those at the Center for Food Safety conclude that a thorough rinse will do the trick.
Hold on Tight, Wash off Well
Of course you hold the railing while riding the mall escalator. But so did everyone else.
You’re probably not going to run to the washroom after every trip upstairs or down, so remember to break out the hand sanitizer instead.
And don’t think you’ll escape this germ buffet by taking the elevator. Those elevator buttons are covered in bacteria, too. Try using a Kleenex or a sleeve to push those buttons, rather than your bare finger.
Oh, the irony
One of life’s greatest ironies is that the place you go to get well and stay that way is also an extremely germy place to visit.
A doctor’s office is not the place to be if you’re trying to avoid germs, but there are steps you can take to help protect yourself.
Prevention.com suggests packing your own care kit when preparing for a doctor’s visit. Include your own books and magazines, along with toys if you have children in tow. Never allow children to play on the waiting room floor.
Pack tissues and hand sanitizer.
While waiting, try to leave space between yourself and others in the waiting room. The more space, the less chance of a sneeze or cough making it your way.
There’s no way to completely avoid germy places. It’s part of living in a world full of people. But a little extra care could help you stay healthy this winter.