Monday, November 26, 2007

Germs- A Traveler's Companion

I read an article about the top places to find "germs" and travel is a big exposure.

I am not afraid of germs because I know they are ubiquitous and there is no way to eradicate bacteria, but having just returned from an overnight in a Hotel...I realize I have been in the midst of a virtual hothouse of germs. Think about these bacteria and virus infested environments:

  • Hotel room remote control: The first thing I grab when I get to a hotel is the remote control and I check out the TV. Guess what? Hundreds of other travelers have done the same thing and the buttons are never cleaned. A travelers pack of alcohol wipes can save the day. Wipe the phone, remote, door handles and light switches to remove traces of that guy with the cold that checked out before you arrived.
  • ATM buttons - Who doesn't get cash from an ATM? That's the point. Everyone has touched those buttons and they are never cleaned. A small container of alcohol based hand gel will kill the viruses and bacteria on my hands after using the ATM.
  • Airplane bathrooms - Don't you always feel a little grubby in the airport or airplane bathroom? They are cramped, overused and experts have found excess amounts of E. coli and other bacteria on the surfaces. This is another place for the alcohol hand cleaner. Also try to flush the toilet with the lid down to avoid the volcanic flush. Get out as soon as possible.
  • Hotel bedspreads -If you are lucky enough to stay at a 4 or 5 star hotel, they have wonderful washable duvet covers and have dispensed with those nasty bedspreads. Bedspreads have been found to have semen (ick) and bacteria on them because they are not washed between guests. Peal those bed spreads off. Don't sit or lay on them and whenever possible stay in a 5 star hotel.
The worst place to find germs is right at home in your own kitchen. That sponge that you use over and over is a bacteria growing farm. Put the sponge in your dishwasher and let the 150 degree temp do its magic. Fill a spray bottle with 1/4 bleach and 3/4 water and use that to clean your surfaces. Congratulations! You have just reduced germs by a significant amount.

There is no need to be paranoid about germs. A little common sense and good hand washing with soap will usually protect us.


Doctor Know said...

I like the tip about the sponge. I have heard about the germs in the kitchen before. Also the cutting board is a source of bacteria that can be dangerous. Thanks.

Rich said...

Great post – the hotel germ thing is something most people over look. Not me-being the germ phobic I am, well not so much phobic but aware. I always peel off the bed spread as I know many naked butts have been sitting on this thing –ew .