Written by Sarah Thebarge, Physician Assistant
Our world is filled with lots of germs, but some places are germier than others! To avoid getting sick from exposure to unwanted viruses, bacteria, and fungi, we recommend carrying disinfectant wipes with you, especially when you visit these four places.
1. Hotel Rooms
Planning to stay in a hotel soon? You’re going to want to add disinfectant wipes to your packing list. While hotel rooms are cleaned between guests, many surfaces aren’t disinfected, which means most hotel rooms have lots of germs that can make you sick. Studies have consistently shown that the TV remote and the light switch contain the highest concentration of germs. So before you kick off your shoes or order room service, make sure to use those wipes!
If you’ve ever gotten sick after getting off a plane and blamed your illness on the flight, you were probably right. Studies have shown that people who fly are up to 113% times more likely to get sick than people who take other forms of transportation! This is due to sharing close quarters with other passengers and breathing dry air, which causes inflammation in your nose and respiratory tract. Rates of infection also go up because airplanes contain many germ-covered surfaces. In fact, the setback tray contains eight times more germs than the “flush” button in the lavatory. To stay as healthy as possible while flying, it’s wise to use disinfectant wipes to clean the seatback tray, setback pocket, seatbelt buckle, and armrest, and wash your hands frequently when you fly.
3. Grocery Stores
A study of more than 100 U.S. grocery stores revealed that they contain an alarming number of germs. Grocery cart handles contain 270 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat handle, with 90% of the bacteria identified as harmful to humans. Other germy grocery store surfaces include the produce aisle, and door handles in the frozen food section. To stay healthy, it’s wise to disinfect the handle of your cart before you begin shopping and disinfect your hands when you leave.
Withdrawing money from an ATM is a double-whammy when it comes to germs. Because the keypad isn’t disinfected between customers, and there are hundreds of fingers entering pin numbers every day, keypads are rife with bacteria. The second problem is that the money that comes out of the ATM is often covered with germs as well. Studies have shown that U.S. money tests positive for vaginal bacteria, oral bacteria, viruses, and fungal cells. And in another study, 80% of the bills tested positive for traces of cocaine. We recommend using disinfectant wipes when you visit an ATM and washing your hands after handling money.
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