Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inspiration Sunday - Where Germs Hide

Germs aren't inspirational, the opposite actually, but I thought it was really eye opening reading these articles from Yahoo about where they like to hide out.

6 Hidden Hot Spots for Germs
Article Source -

1. In The Laundry
Before loading the washer, you sort your clothes into whites and colors. Next time, consider also sorting by use: That means putting food-related items like dishcloths and kitchen towels into one load and underwear and bathroom towels into another. Why? “Most people wash all of their laundry in cold or lukewarm water, which only removes and kills about 80% of bacteria,” says Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Inside the machine, dirty wash water can spread germs through the entire load, even leaving them behind on the walls of the machine.

2. In Your Kitchen
You just made chicken cutlets for dinner, and you grab a sponge to wipe down the remnants of raw chicken, eggs and other ingredients left behind on your countertops. Stop right there! The mess you’re wiping up could include germs like salmonella (which can survive on hard surfaces for days, even months) that can cause very unpleasant stomach symptoms and fever.

Porous, wet and full of nooks for bits of food to hide in, the sponge is “a super-condo for bacteria,” says Elizabeth Scott, PhD, founder and codirector of the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston. It’s even germier than the inside of a toilet bowl, says Dr. Gerba.

So if you’re using the same sponge to wash dishes and clean your counters, you could be just spreading more germs around.

3. At The Grocery Store
Those plastic covers made for the seat area of the shopping cart were created for good reason: “We find more E. coli on shopping carts than on toilet seats,” Dr. Gerba says. “In addition to germs from food, children’s dirty bottoms are going in the seat—and the carts are hardly ever cleaned.”

The checkout screens where you swipe your credit or ATM card aren’t great, either. In some grocery stores, up to 80% have E. coli on them—likely picked up from people handling leaky meat packages and unwashed produce, then touching the screen. Another germy spot: Your reusable grocery bag. Yes, you’re being environmentally conscious, but bacteria from meat and produce from your last trip are probably still in there. “Only 3% of people surveyed say they have ever washed their totes, and half use them for carrying other things, like dirty clothes,” Dr. Gerba says. “That’s like hauling your groceries home in your dirty underwear.”

4. In The Bathroom
Washing your hands is a no-brainer. Suds up for 15 to 20 seconds—about the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday,” says Carlene Muto, MD, medical director for infection control at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. But the faucet itself may not be so sanitary: Constant contact with hands and moisture means the taps are teeming with bacteria. One study found that wet places like faucet handles were among the most likely places in the home to harbor superbugs like MRSA, a painful and potentially life-threatening skin infection.

Bathroom towels are another always-damp place where bacteria like E. coli (which cause stomach pain and vomiting) thrive, since they collect germs from hands and toilet droplets.

5. The Bottom of Your Bag, Suitcase or Backpack
You come home after your bag has been in a shopping cart, on the floor and who knows where else and plop it on the kitchen counter. Get ready for the gross factor: Research shows that bacteria like E. coli cling to the bottom of 18% of bags. Keep bags off the floor and whatever you do, don’t set a bag on any surface where food is made or eaten.

6. The TV Remote
Everyone touches it, but very few people ever clean it. Swab it with a disinfecting wipe or a cloth using a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.

5 Germiest Spots in Your Kitchen
Article Source -

1. Kitchen Sink
Dishes left in the sink can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. After you've cleaned them, germs can linger in the sink and simply rinsing it won't disinfect it. Pre-wash the sink with soap and water and mix 3/4 cup of bleach into one gallon water or use an all-purpose cleaner with bleach. Wipe the sink with the solution or the cleaner and wait at least 5 minutes. If you made the bleach solution, pour it down the sink to clean the drain. Rinse the sink well with hot water.

2. Sink Faucet
Most of us don't have sensor faucets like the ones in the airport, so dirty hands can definitely contaminate the faucet and handles. Wiping them with an antibacterial wipe daily will reduce germs but you may need to use several wipes to make sure that the surfaces remain wet long enough to be disinfected.

3. Sponges
Bacteria love to hide in their moist crevices. Using a dirty one can transfer germs to other places in your kitchen. Be sure to clean them weekly and throw them away when they start falling apart.

4. Faucet Spigot
When you clean foods like lettuce and spinach for dinner, the dirt that you're washing off can splash back onto the the spigot of your sink, giving germs a new resting place. Unscrew the spigot to remove the screen filter and run hot water through it. Then wash the screen with hot soapy water, rinse, and reassemble.

5. Microwave Control
Since splatters inside the microwave are very noticeable, you probably clean them up. But do you ever think to clean the control buttons that are touched by many sticky fingers? With an antibacterial wipe give them a cleaning too.

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