1. Your kitchen sink: With more dirt than a typical bathroom, and over 500,000 bacteria per square inch in the drain, your kitchen sink basin and faucet are teeming with germs.
2. Airplane bathrooms: Never mind the fecal bacteria that’s commonly found on door handles and faucets, the worst part is the tornado of germy particles that’s spewed into the air when you flush the toilet.
3. Wet laundry (even after it’s been washed): A dirty pair of underwear contains about a gram of ***, and this gets spread around the entire load of laundry very quickly. It’s not until you dry the clothes that the germs are destroyed.
4. Drinking fountains: All public drinking fountains are loaded with germs, but those in schools -- which contained anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch of the spigot -- were the worst.
5. Shopping cart handles: While you’re innocently shopping for groceries, your hands are grasping a handle covered in saliva, bacteria and fecal matter from dozens of people.
6. ATM buttons: Think about how often these buttons are touched everyday. Now think about how often they’re cleaned. This explains why one study found an average of over 1,200 bacteria on the average ATM key.
7. Your handbag: Women, your purse is likely overrun with thousands, and even millions, of bugs like salmonella, E. coli, staph bacteria and more. Makes you think twice about putting your handbag on the floor, and then plopping it down onto your kitchen counter, doesn’t it?
8. Playgrounds: Your typical children’s playground is covered in bodily fluids like blood, mucus, saliva and urine.
9. Mats and machines at health clubs: Yoga mat? Elliptical machine? Think bacteria factory. Such mats and cardio machines have been found to contain antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria and more.
10. Your bathtub: Bathtubs contain more than 100,000 bacteria per square inch, some of which you have just washed off your own body.
11. Your office phone: Phones get coated with germs from your mouth and hands, to the tune of over 25,000 germs per square inch.
12. Hotel-room remote control: This little remote has been used by hundreds of other people, and likely wasn’t thoroughly disinfected in between. This list is enough to turn anyone into a modern-day Howard Hughes, just from the “yuck factor” alone. If you want to add even more fodder to your ensuing germaphobia, check out what these hidden cameras found out about glassware in your hotel room.
Folks, infectious agents like bacteria and viruses are pervasive. They are in your own home, in your own kitchen sink and on your own kitchen counters where you prepare food for your family. You simply can’t escape them.
If you are looking for one simple way to wipe out germs and reduce your chances of becoming sickened by them, it would be to wash your hands regularly using plain soap and water. It has been shown time and time again that washing your hands with soap and water can kill viruses that cause:
- The common cold
- Hepatitis A
- Acute gastroenteritis
- Other illnesses
Please do not make the mistake of using these antibacterial liquids and soaps. These products kill both good and bad bacteria, which is why they are prone to contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Additionally you will want to avoid becoming obsessive about washing your hands; if you wash them too frequently you can actually extract many of the protective oils in your skin, which will cause your skin to crack and bleed.
Further, the active ingredient in most antibacterial products is triclosan, an antibacterial agent that kills bacteria and inhibits bacterial growth. But not only does triclosan kill bacteria, it also has been shown to kill human cells.
Avoid Excessive Hand Washing
It is important to realize that your skin is your primary defense against bacteria -- NOT the soap. It is rare when a germ on your skin will cause a problem -- it is typically only an issue when you transfer that to your nose, mouth or an open wound like cracked skin. So please avoid anything but absolutely crucial hand washing as that will actually increase your risk of getting sick by providing an entryway for potentially dangerous pathogens.
You Probably Have Disease-Causing Bacteria on You Right Now
About 30 percent of people, for instance, carry methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the bacteria that’s been linked to MRSA outbreaks in schools across the United States, on their skin.
And a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a swab of your forearm may reveal 182 species of bacteria (8 percent of which were unknown).
Many of these bacteria are good and essential for your very survival. Some, however, are bad and capable of making you sick.
But not if you take the steps necessary to build up your immune system. A strong immune system is the best defense against any pathogenic bacteria you come across, and will serve you well if you nourish it with the proper tools.
You can support your immune system by:
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Minimizing stress in your life
- Exercising regularly and effectively
- Getting enough sun exposure or, alternatively, enough of the right vitamin D (if you live in a cold environment where you can't stay out in the sun)
- Avoiding sugar and grains, and instead eating plenty of raw foods
- Taking a high-quality probiotic (good bacteria)