http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/01/13/watch-out-for-those-germ-hotspots


Pleasanton Weekly

- January 13, 2012

Watch out for those germ hotspots

Best to be cautious during cough and cold season

We're reminded time and again of the good health habits we should practice during the winter germ season -- wash your hands, cover your cough and stay home when you're sick. While you likely know these basics, you might not be aware some of the most common places germs tend to congregate and spread.

Taking proper care to kill germs after you come into contact with these germ hotspots can be one of the keys to staying healthy this season. The tricky part is many of these hotspots are places you encounter when you're on the go and aren't necessarily close to a sink. That's where keeping a portable hand sanitizer handy can help.

The gas station and convenience store

When you're pumping gas, have you ever thought about how many other hands have touched the same pump since the last time it was wiped down? A recent study confirmed that gas pumps are one of the filthiest items we encounter in everyday life. After you fill your tank, your next move should be to reach for that bottle of hand sanitizer in your car. And while cashiers typically work hard to keep their counters clean, it's never a bad idea to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after exchanging cash or touching other common areas in the store.

The gym

Most health clubs go to great lengths to keep equipment clean and make members feel comfortable. But if you're hopping on the treadmill right after someone else, it never hurts to use a sanitizing wipe, which many clubs keep readily available. Pay it forward by using another one when you are done.

Grocery store

If you're a parent, you know that it's not just the driver's hands that are getting all over the shopping cart, since kids tend to be obsessed with any moving object with wheels. Consider using a sanitizing wipe before touching a grocery cart. Once you're done shopping, cleansing your hands and any younger shopping companions' hands with sanitizer is a good way to stem the spread of germs that might have been picked up from frequently touched surfaces in the store.

The mall

Escalator and stair railings, as well as drinking fountain controls and armrests on benches, see a lot of action throughout the day and collect germs quickly. Put those sanitizing stations in the shopping center's hallways to good use after touching these areas.

At work

Frequently touching your desk, phone and keyboard means germs multiply at your work station. Keeping tissues and hand sanitizer at your desk can also be helpful for those emergencies when you can't leave your seat immediately to get to the sink.

There's no way to avoid germs altogether during the winter germ season, but you can take action by recognizing some of the most common areas where germs tend to congregate.

--ARA Content

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