If You Know What’s Good For You, You’ll Keep Your Hands To Yourself: 14 Steps To Germ-Proofing Your Life

March 28, 2013  |  
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Don’t think you’re out of the fire just because flu season is over. Another germ-tastic season is on its way: summer! Many bacteria and viruses thrive in heat. Not to mention when the weather is nice, you’re probably leaving the house more, putting you in contact with countless more germs. Here are easy ways to protect your life against germs.

The filthy first floor

Do not touch the first floor button on an elevator. Think about it: every single person that used that elevator that day, touched that button on the way down. Touch it with a napkin, a sleeve, or ask someone else to do it.

Choose a well-ventilated gym

Gyms are nests for germs! People are sweating, guzzling from (and spitting in) the drinking fountain, sharing lockers and changing clothes. One of your priorities when choosing a gym should be choosing one that is well ventilated. Otherwise, you’re working out in a cold and flu trap.

No shoes in the house

You bring in all that bacteria from outside, then you walk around barefoot and bring those germs into your bed and shower. In your bed, those germs quickly make their way up to your eyes, ears and nose. Enlist a no shoes rule, or thoroughly wash your feet before each time you get into bed.

Be a “never-nude”

You sit on your bed nude, but you also sat on that bed in the pants you wore on the public bus, exposing your most intimate and vulnerable areas to all kinds of germs. At the very least after a shower, put underwear on before plopping onto your bed to check Facebook.

Don’t share toiletries

There are the obvious ones like ChapStick, toothbrushes and mascara, but even soap—which is supposed to kill germs—carries germs. Most toiletries come in contact with our areas most alive with germs, so just keep yours to yourself.

Wear Band-Aids

Bacteria just loves an open wound. Even the tiniest uncovered cut can lead to an infection or let a virus in. It might not be the most aesthetically appealing thing, but slap on Band-Aids generously. Especially before going to crowded areas.

Don’t handle that handle

Bring disinfectant wipes to the grocery store and thoroughly wipe down the shopping cart handle. If you’re not embarrassed, keep disposable rubber or plastic gloves and wear those when you shop.

Hands-free on the escalator

It seems so harmless and is just waiting for you to rest your hand on it. But brace yourself and keep your balance on your own, even on rickety, bumpy escalators. Those handrails are rarely cleaned.

Use the first stall

Most people pass over the first stall in the bathroom. For psychological reasons, we feel safer and more private further into a room. But overcome that little neurosis and go right into that first stall, because it’s the least frequented and so the least germ-y.

Apple cider in the coffee pot

Coffee pots are complicated to wash, and the one in your office is teeming with germs. Pour a water-cider solution through your office coffee pot once a week. And always stick to your own mug.

Bring your own water

When was the last time you saw someone scrubbing down the water dispenser with sanitizer? Exactly. They’re never washed and yet the water you drink comes in contact with the spout—which also came in contact with plenty of stranger’s hands, or the rims of their unwashed cups.

Microwave your sponge

Dish sponges build up bacteria fast. Try zapping your sponge in the microwave. Just two minutes on high can kill 99 percent of bacteria and viruses, and keep you from having to replace the sponge every two days.

Disinfect your office space

You can’t possibly remember or have time to wash your hands every time you do something before touching your keyboard. But your desk is a haven for germs from the phone to the mouse to the stapler everybody borrows. Disinfect the entire area, daily.

The 15-second rule

That’s how long you have to wash your hands. Some sing the Happy Birthday song to time it. But anything less than 15 seconds will not dislodge germs from your hands.

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