05 Jun 2014

We need to have a healthy view of germs.

There are good bacteria that are essential for life. They make is possible to grow food, break down that food in our bellies, build our immune systems, and compost plants in the life cycle.

However, there are bad bacteria and viruses that make us sick.

Some people are germaphobic, washing their hands dozens of times a day and using antibacterial cleaners on everything. Overuse of antibacterial soaps are actually harmful as they destroy good and bad germs.

People associate bathrooms with germs, so they clean the toilet and sinks. But what about the door handle, faucets and light switch? (Consider that 10% of people don’t wash their hands after using the toilet.)

Here are some items we often forget to clean and should:

Cell phones: When is the last time you cleaned your cell phone? Think about all the places your cell phone has been: on public counters, in pockets with money, in the bathroom when you use it to pass the time. Your cell phone has 10 times more germs that the average toilet seat.

Remote controls: We grab and use them when our hands are in various states of cleanliness. Remember to wipe them down next time you clean around them.

Door knobs and handles: We touch them; our friends touch them. Yet we forget they are even there when we clean. Give them a good wipe down with an antibacterial spray as part of your cleaning routine.

Car surfaces: We jump in our cars after shopping, running errands, handling money and meeting people. Use cleaning wipes on that steering wheel, shifter and other things you touch often. If you use public transportation, be aware of what your’e touchng and clean your hands afterwards.

Your hands: According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, washing hands regularly is the best way to avoid getting sick. You don’t need antibacterial soap, you just need to wash with any soap for at least 20 seconds. Wash after using the toilet and being in public. It’s a 5-step process: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry. Carry handi-wipes with you. It’s just nasty to eat French fries after touching the restaurant door handle, paying with cash (or the credit card touchpad), and touching various surfaces.

Airplane surfaces: I have traveled to more than 60 countries and would often get sick after long flights; implementing the following had helped me stay healthy. Wipe down all surfaces you touch. When I get in my seat, I use an antibacterial wipe on the armrests, seat belt buckle, video screen, and tray table (they rarely get cleaned). Also remember to clean your hands after going through security.

You don’t have to be a germaphobe. Just be smart so you can be healthy.



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