The average adult touches as many as 30 objects in a minute, including a number of high-traffic surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, phones, and remote controls. At home, it’s your job to keep germs at bay, but what about when you travel?
What are the germiest things you can touch when you step outside your door?
- Airplane lavatories. Microbes found on the surfaces from faucets to doorknobs have been found to be contaminated with E. coli. Recent studies found you’re 100 times more likely to catch a cold if you’re airborne, so protect yourself by wiping surfaces down before you touch them.
- Restroom door handles. After you wash your hands, take an extra paper towel and use it to open the door, then ball it up and toss it from the doorway (excellent chance to improve your jump shot). Sure, others may think you’re a germ-a-phobe, but who cares?
- Restaurant menus. A recent study reported that cold and flu viruses can life up to 18 hours on hard surfaces. A menu in a popular restaurant can touch hundreds of people in a day. Never let the menu touch your plate or silverware and wash your hands after you place your order.
- Grocery cart handles. In 2007, the University of Arizona conducted a study and found that over two thirds of grocery cart handles are contaminated with fecal bacteria. Use the antibacterial wipes provided at most grocery stores or carry your own (especially if you have a little one who will ride in the seat and hold that handle).
- Lemon wedges. This one surprised us too, but when researchers for the Journal of Environmental Health were sent to order drinks at 21 different restaurants, they found 25 different microorganisms lingering in the fruit, including E.coili and other fecal bacteria. Order your drinks without the fruit.