5 Most Germ Infested Public Places

Are you trying to avoid as many germs as you can when you leave the house? Studies show that you many want to steer clear of such common items as gas pumps, ATM buttons, escalator rails as well as other common objects. A recent study conducted in the United States found that over 70 percent of gas pump handles were highly contaminated with germs.

Gas Pump Handles

Germs abound on almost every gas pump handle across America. Before people touch gas pump handles, they are busy doing all kinds of things in their car. They are eating, drinking, blowing their nose and wiping their mouths. They may have also handled coins or paper money if they have been to the bank or gone through the toll booth. They may have loaded dirty items in their car or they may have cleaned the garbage out of their car just before they touched the gas pump handle. Make sure to keep some hand sanitizer in your car to use after you put gas in your car.

ATM Buttons

Studies have shown that over 40 percent of ATM buttons are contaminated with harmful bacteria. People often dig in their dirty wallet or purse just before using the ATM. This transfers dirt and bacteria to the ATM buttons, where it can be picked up the next user. People also may cough or sneeze near the ATM, further contaminating it. Always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after using the ATM machine.

Escalator Hand Rails

Over 40 percent of escalator rails that were tested were found to be contaminated with germs. Almost every person that rides on an escalator will grab on to the rails at some point in their ride. Any germs or dirt that they have on their hands will be transferred to the escalator hand rails, where they will wait for the next unsuspecting person who touches the hand rail. If you do grab onto the hand rail on your escalator ride, make sure you use hand sanitizer or wash your hands afterwards.

Children’s Playgrounds

Children’s playgrounds are among the most germ infested public places around. Researchers who tested playground surfaces found traces of blood, mucus, saliva and urine on the surfaces. Over 40 percent of the playground surfaces tested were found to be contaminated with these substances or other types of germs. Always make sure your child washes up after being at the playground and make sure you wash up as well, especially if you have touched any of the playground surfaces.

Shopping Cart Handles

It is impossible to avoid touching the handles of the shopping cart at the grocery store, but they are another surface that is highly contaminated with germs. Small children sit in the basket and grab on to the handles while they are riding in the cart. They may stick their hands in the mouth or wipe their nose with their hand and then transfer those germs to the shopping cart handle. Adults may touch produce that has germs and bacteria on it and then grab onto the cart handles. Women also put their purses in the basket of the cart. The bottom of their purse may be contaminated with many different germs. The bottom of the purse can easily come in contact with the handles when they are placing it in the cart.

While germs are all around us, you can help combat them by following proper hygiene procedures. The biggest thing you can do to help combat all the germs that are out there is frequent hand washing. To help cut down on germs, wash your hands after touching germ laden items, after you use the bathroom and before you eat. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer to combat germs.

Donna Dalton is a public health administrator and guest author at MPHOnline.org, a site with reviews of top-rated online masters in public health degree programs.

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