by Nadine Soul

Where we find the most germs

You may use hand sanitizers but germs are everywhere

Germs are everywhere, so what to do?
You may use hand sanitizers but germs are everywhere

Ever found yourself sanitising the toilet, your hands and just about everything you touch?

This can keep you germ free but only for so long.

Here is a peak at the most germ invested areas which we come in contact with on a daily basis.

A recent study revealed that the kitchen floor just in front of the sink has more bacteria (830 per square inch) than the trash can (411 per square inch).

Other surprises included the fact that the sponge held 60 times more bacteria than the pet's food bowl.

The numbers of bacteria found on the bottom of ladies' bags ranged from small numbers to 6.7 million.

What has more germs than the toilet?

The toilet paper dispenser has more than 150 times the bacterial levels of the porcelain throne.

Your cell phone carries 25 000 germs per square inch, while toilet seats hold only 344 bacteria in the same space.

A desk has 400 times more germs.

A computer keyboard has 5 times more germs.

Steering wheels have 9 times more germs. 

The following have ranked top of the germ charts.

1. Your kitchen sink 

Kitchen sinks are dirtier than most bathrooms. There are typically more than 500 000 bacteria per square inch in the drain alone. Plus your sponge, basin and faucet handles are crawling with bacteria as well.

2. Airplane bathroom

It may not be a shock that there are a huge number of germs in most public bathrooms, but experts agree the cramped and overused ones on airplanes are the worst. There are often traces of E. coli or fecal bacteria on the faucets and door handles because it’s hard to wash hands in the tiny sinks. And the volcanic flush of the commode tends to spew particles into the air, coating the floor and walls with whatever had been swirling around in it.

3. A load of wet laundry 

Any time you transfer underwear from the washer to the dryer, you’re getting E. coli on your hands. Just one soiled undergarment can spread bacteria to the whole load and machine.

4. Public drinking fountains 

Drinking fountains are bound to be 'germy', but school fountains are the worst, with anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot.

5. Shopping cart handles 

Saliva, bacteria and fecal matter are just a few of the substances found on shopping cart handles. 

6. ATM buttons 

If you’re not careful, you might pick up more than quick cash from your local ATM. These buttons have more gunk on them than most public-bathroom doorknobs! ATMs aren’t frequently cleaned, and are regularly touched — a perfect combination for a lot of germs. 

7. Your handbag 

Recent studies found that most women’s purses had tens of thousands of bacteria on the bottom and a few were overrun with millions. Another study found bugs like pseudomonas (which can cause eye infections) and skin-infection-causing staphylococcus bacteria, as well as salmonella and E. coli.

8. Playgrounds 

There’s just no way to put this delicately: Children tend to ooze bodily fluids and then spread them around. When researchers sampled playgrounds, they found blood, mucus, saliva and urine. Pair those findings with the fact that children put their fingers in their mouths and noses more than the rest of us, and it’s easy to understand why Junior (and maybe his mom or dad) has the sniffles.

9. Mats and machines at health clubs 

Antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus has been found on yoga mats and cardio and resistance machines. At high schools, antibiotic-resistant-staph infections have been transmitted through wrestling mats. The same thing could happen at health clubs.

10. Your bathtub 

Shocking, but true: The place you go to get clean is quite dirty. A recent study found staphylococcus bacteria, a common cause of serious skin infections, in 26 percent of the tubs tested, as compared with just 6 percent of garbage cans. Tubs typically had more than 100 000 bacteria per square inch! You are washing germs and viruses off your body and the tub is a fairly moist environment, so bacteria can grow.

11. Your office phone 

This is enough to make you dial 911: Office phones often have more than 25 000 germs per square inch, and your desk, computer keyboard and mouse aren’t far behind. Phones, including cell phones, can be pretty gross because they get coated with germs from your mouth and hands.

12.The hotel room remote control 

What’s the first thing you do when you settle in at a hotel? You grab the remote control and switch on the TV — you, and the hundreds of other guests who’ve stayed there. How dirty is it? A recent study tested various surfaces for the cold virus after a group of sick people had stayed overnight and found the virus on the remote, door handles, light switches, pens and faucet handles.

Fortunately, most of the germs that are crawling around our desks, on our phones and beneath our bags are of the benign kind and are kept under control with basic hygiene. 

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Issue 16


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