It is very difficult to protect yourself from exposure to a variety of bacteria and viruses. The availability of antiseptic gels and wipes has proven useful in disinfecting hands, and their use is strongly encouraged. Some of the most contaminated areas in our communities are in retail stores and restaurants. It is good to recognize the “hot spots” where bacteria and viruses are most prevalent. Some of these “hot spots” are included below:
- Restroom sinks – These are often highly contaminated. This is a place where bacteria have a moist environment which fosters their growth. To protect yourself, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and then rinse well.
- Food court tables — Even though you might think tables are being wiped down, the rag that is being used is likely contaminated with bacteria and viruses. To protect yourself, bring your own disinfecting wipes to clean the table.
- Escalator handrails — It is likely that someone before you coughed or sneezed into their hand and then placed their hand on the rail. To protect yourself, avoid touching the handrail if possible. If not, then make sure to wash your hands with an antibacterial hand sanitizer soon after getting off the escalator.
- ATM key pads — Which button is the worst offender? Maybe it is the enter button because we all have to push that one! To protect yourself, touch the keys using your knuckles or wash your hands with an antibacterial hand sanitizer immediately after your business is concluded.
- Fitting rooms — It’s not the actual room, but the clothes you are trying on. Skin cells rub off on the clothes each time they are tried on. To protect yourself, wear full coverage underwear.
- Makeup samples — Many people who don’t wash their hands frequently stick their finger in makeup samples. To protect yourself, request a single-use unit that you open, use, and then immediately throw away. If that’s not available, apply the product to the back of your hand, never to your lips, eyes, or face.
- Shopping cart/basket handles — Your grocery/shopping cart handles are touched by many hands every day. If available, use an antibacterial wipe on the handle before use and a hand sanitizer on your hands when you get to your car.
These simple steps will decrease the bacterial and viral count substantially, thus reducing your risk of an infection.
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