8 Germy surfaces that can harbor flu virus

1/10/2013

Studies have shown that harmful bacteria can survive on inanimate surfaces for up to two hours. Avoiding these surfaces can help keep your hands from picking up the flu virus.

Surface #1: Purses and Wallets

Because most men keep wallets in their pockets, the wallet stays near body temperature-an ideal temperature for bacteria to multiply. Paper currency is especially harmful. It passes through thousands of germ-filled hands before it hits the wallet.

Surface #2: Gas Pumps

As if a trip to the gas station isn't painful enough these days, gas pumps are one of the germiest surfaces around. Hundreds of hands touch gas station pump handles and keypads every day, making them a breeding ground for germs and harmful bacteria. Keeping a small bottle of alcohol-based hand cleaner can help wash away those germs.

Surface #3: Television Remote Control

When people are sick, they hop into bed and grab their remote control. Remote controls are almost never cleaned, making them even more hazardous.

Surface #4: Telephones

Telephones are a breeding ground for two of the worst sources for germs: your hands and your mouth. Germs collected on your hands are spread across the handle, and germy saliva collects on the mouthpiece. And be honest: how often do you clean your phone?

Surface #5: Elevator Buttons

Elevator buttons are a prime breeding ground for the flu virus. If possible, take the stairs-the exercise will do you good. Or wait for someone else to hit the button first. If you must touch the button, use your knuckle or elbow, not your fingertip.

Surface #6: Doorknobs

Doorknobs are one of the prime surfaces for transmitting harmful germs and bacteria. If you can, wash your hands with soap and water or swab them with an alcohol-based cleaner after opening a door. If you're even more cautious, using a tissue to open an especially filthy doorknob can keep your palm from contracting millions of germs.

Surface #7: Drinking Fountains

Moist surfaces can harbor a countless amount of bacteria. A study by NSF International found that drinking fountains contain up to 2.7 million bacterial cells per square inch. In fact, studies have shown that water fountains harbor more bacteria than a toilet seat. If that fact doesn't make you squirm, nothing will.

Surface #8: Hotel rooms

If you've ever been in a hotel room, you already know that hotels are notorious for their lack of cleanliness. From the bed to the shower to the mini-bar, the average hotel room is teeming with germs. If you're on a business trip, it may be cleaner-and cheaper-to sleep in your car.


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