Germs are everywhere. There is no escaping them, no matter how much you try. While many germs are perfectly harmless, there are also plenty that can get you or other people around you sick throughout the year. Many of the surfaces you touch every day are covered in germs, and simply being aware of them may help you avoid getting sick in the future. Listed below are some unexpected yet common locations for germs to help you be more aware of your surroundings.
All kinds of people touch restaurant menus throughout the day, and most restaurants only wipe down the menus every once and a while. In smaller restaurants with limited staff, those menus may never be wiped down. You can choose to wipe the menu down before you read it, but that may look strange to other people. Instead, you could simply keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse, bag, or pocket, and wipe your hands after you order. You could also look up the menu before you go to a restaurant so you know what you want in advance. Then you can say you don’t even want a menu, and you never have to worry about touching it.
Credit Card Machines
ATMs, credit card readers, and registers with other people’s germs. Think about how many fingers have actually touched the keypads since the machine was put into the store. While many businesses will ask their cleaning crew or staff to clean off the pads daily, some may only do this once a year. You could avoid this by paying in cash, but paper currency is also covered in germs. Thus it may be best to practice proper hand sanitation after you pay for an item in a store so you can keep your hands clean.
You may not interact with hotel remotes daily, but you still need to be aware of this while you are on vacation. If a hotel cleaning crew does not properly wash off its TV remotes, you can clearly see crumbs, gunk, and other not-so-pleasant features in between the buttons. Many modern hotels have switched to "clean" remotes, which do not have any large depressions in them. They are flat on the surface, so the cleaning crew can wipe them down for new guests. Even if you have one of these in your room, it would not hurt to wipe it down with a sanitary wipe.
Note that this same theory applies for remotes in other locations, like in the waiting room at a doctor’s office, mechanic shop, etc. Be leery of touching these devices, and avoid doing so if possible.
Door Knobs and Door Handles
Door knobs, handles, and similar surfaces are touched all throughout the day. The office cleaning crew will wipe these down when they clean windows or take care of other cleaning duties nearby, but they cannot monitor the door handles every hour on the hour. Thus you may have to take the initiative to avoid the germs lingering on the surface. Use your sleeve or the bottom of your shirt to grab the handle, or tap on the handicap button with your elbow. This will open the door for you do so you not have to touch the handle at all.
Shopping Cart Handles
The handles on shopping carts are similar to credit card machines in terms of how many people interact with them a day. The only difference is that shopping cart handles are not regularly wiped down by a janitorial team. Stores like Walmart and Target provide hand sanitizing wipes at the front of their stores to allow customers to wipe down their cart handles. Get in the habit of doing this while you go shopping, and you will be able to reduce the germs you encounter.