Yes, you do have a right to be a fanatic. When it comes to war, any war, the winner is always the one who never assumes they are safe. These same tactics must be applied to germ warfare as well.
There just had to be a Part II to my previous article on Germ Warfare. After writing the first article, I kept being mentally nagged by other danger zones I had left out. In some instances, I believe these germ danger zones may be more nefarious than some of those listed in my original article. So read on, and prepare to change some more of your life’s habits.
Soda pop and other canned goods—The other night while I was teaching a class on quarantine/pandemic ironically, a free can of soda pop was offered to everyone in the room. As I watched everyone happily opened their can of pop and drank from it. I on the other hand washed mine at the sink, wiped it off with a sani-wipe and then drank from it—simply because I couldn’t find any straws. Remember, you have absolutely NO idea what rodents the cans were exposed to at their original warehouse, as they were transported, or as they were housed at the retailer you purchased them from. Hanta virus is still a viable concern even if you have no rodents in your own home.
According to a new study, steering wheels have twice as many germs as toilet seats. Photo c/o autoexpress.co.uk
Steering wheel—Even if I avoid the fact that many people have questionable hygiene habits when they are in their own little world in their car, the fact of the matter is, you don’t exactly turn your head away from your steering wheel when you sneeze, cough, etc. Your steering wheel gets the brunt of all that nature expels from your mouth and nose. PLEASE be sure to clean it off regularly with sani-wipes. (If you haven’t picked up on it yet, manufacturers of sani-wipes may be a hot stock pick right about now. :))
Get your drinks WITHOUT ice—I know that’s unfathomable to most of you. But here’s an eye opening statistic. You have a 70% chance of having MORE e-coli (which comes from feces) in your ice than is in the toilet from the same restaurant, airline, hotel, etc. Yes! Not just a 70% chance of finding e-coli there. But a 70% chance that your ice will be MORE contaminated than the toilet water! Studies showed that the number of stars a restaurant or hotel had made no difference in the quality of water in most cases. E-coli is introduced into the water by the water source used to make the ice, bare hands used to load the ice (instead of the scoop) and the fact that the lines to the ice machines are virtually NEVER cleaned out.
Lemon wedges—avoid them in your drinks. I loathe the taste of tap water but I simply mask the taste by requesting a lemon wedge. Alas, I won’t be doing that any more. Lemon wedges have a 77% chance of being contaminated with e-coli, staph infection, or a myriad of other infectious bacteria. The only good thing you’ve got going for you is the fact that lemon juice is a natural anti-bacterial and disinfectant agent. *whew* Lemons are usually put into your drinks by bare hands despite the fact that they’re supposed to be handled with gloves. However, most restaurants leave it up to the servers to put them in your drinks. Having them placed on your dinner plates should be safe though as that’s usually done by a food handler in the kitchen.
Gas pumps—If I had to give an award for the LEAST amount of cleaning on a public item ever, gas pumps would win hands down. Think about it. When have you EVER seen someone clean those? When you pump your gas, use a paper towel that the station usually has on hand or at least sanitize the heck out of your hands before you touch ANYTHING else—including your keys.
Last but not least is a stern word of warning about playgrounds. Those bouncy houses that your kids play in NEVER get sanitized. They get vacuumed sometimes, but never fully cleaned. The ones containing the bouncy balls are a cesspool of germs of the grossest kinds. When have you ever seen a school janitor clean the chains on the swings or the bars on the monkey bars or the handles on the teeter totters? How about the playground equipment such as balls, jump ropes, etc? It’s imperative that you teach your kids to SANITIZE their hands after recess or after using such equipment on any occasion.
Bottom line, you have EVERY right to be fanatical about your health care. This is your life we’re talking about here. You MUST be in a heightened state of awareness in order to prevent you and your family from getting unnecessarily ill. One touch is all it takes folks, so be mindful. You wouldn’t take your kid down a dark alley in the middle of the city at 3:00 a.m. Making contact with e-coli or the Hanta virus or the H1N1 virus isn’t any less of a gamble. So start putting the odds in your favor. This is called germ warfare for a reason. Position yourself to win every battle.
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