Right now as we speak, your skin is absolutely swarming with bacteria. Don’t feel too bad though, it’s not just your skin – those germs are also in your hair, on your clothes, on your work surfaces and in your bed.
The good news is that not all this bacteria is unhealthy, and some of it is in fact necessary for us to live healthy and normal lives. Still though, there are certainly some areas where we will encounter more germs and some areas where those germs will be more harmful, and it’s important to recognize where these areas are so that we can practice better hygiene there and generally… not lick them… Here are a few top hot spots for the bad kind of germs that you’ll encounter on a day to day basis. Some of them may surprise you…
Your Finger Tips
Chewing your fingertips is actually much worse for your health than you’re probably aware. In fact various studies have shown that our finger tips as a rule are more covered in germs than toilet seats or the floor – after all you touch the toilet seat with your hands, as well as the floor and just about everything else you come into contact with.
To avoid this issue obviously try to keep your hands as clean as possible and to wash them regularly – no need to go crazy though as having a few germs on our hands helps to train our immune system. More importantly though, try to keep your fingers away from your face and particularly from your mouth.
Note that it’s not just your hands that are covered in germs though, but the hands of everyone you meet. If you shake hands then try not to touch your face afterward before you’ve washed them, and likewise be a little wary of doorknobs and handles.
When you climb into bed you may think that you’re settling down in a nice safe haven away from all the daily stresses. However this is far from a safe haven from germs – and particularly as you spend so long here every day sweating, shedding dead skin and coughing up all sorts of microscopic enemies. Make sure that you are vigilant with washing your bed sheets then, and particularly if you sleep with a partner and/or a dog.
Here’s one more reason to try and avoid going to work – your office is probably full of germs. The simple reason for this is that you are trapped in a single room with lots of people who are probably going to be coughing and spluttering away, and that the same air is probably circulated endlessly throughout the office. Your best option to avoid illness at work is to keep a window open from time to time, and to try and encourage ill colleagues to just go home.
If you thought an office was like a hot box of germs, then a plane is like a flying smarty tube full of them. Here you have even more people in an even smaller space and literally no fresh air can come in from outside. There’s not much you can do to defend yourself here other than to make sure you rest up before you go on holiday and eat plenty of vitamins and minerals beforehand too.
Your mouth is full of bacteria which ends up on your toothbrush. Then half the time it gets plonked into a cup that’s full of stagnant water where it will lean against your partner and children’s toothbrushes.
Solution? Get a separate container for each toothbrush, clean that out regularly, and keep all of them locked safely away in your bathroom cabinet.
You don’t think of makeup as being potentially germ ridden, but anything you leave lying around and regularly rub on your face is going to have this danger. Make sure then that you wash any applicators regularly and that you seal them away when you’re not using them. Meanwhile do try to avoid sharing makeup with girlfriends.
The Bath and Sink
Your bath and sink are designed to clean you off, but that bacteria and grime has to go somewhere. If you aren’t careful then this will grip around the sides of your bath and sink, and over time you can get quite a cocktail going of different bugs and germs. Make sure then that you properly wash these out regularly and with disinfectant products.
The Cash Machine
The cash machine is something that gets touched by probably hundreds if not thousands of hands in a day, and isn’t regularly cleaned. Bearing in mind that 1 in 3 healthy adults have the staphylococcus virus living on their skin this means you’re likely to pick something up if you aren’t careful.
Again, don’t go into hypochondriac mode here – just make sure to remember when you’ve used a cash point – avoid touching your face, and to avoid using the cash point if you have an open wound that could get infected.
The Swimming Pool
The swimming pool and the floors around the swimming pool might be filled with chlorine, but that doesn’t stop them being rooms filled with people who are coughing, spluttering and sneezing… and possibly even urinating. The floors are then incredibly warm and moist which is the ideal breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and fungi which is why verrucas are so commonly picked up here. Again, avoid the swimming pool if you’re run down, make sure to dry and wash your feet properly, and try not to drink the water.
Cleaning a carpet well is incredibly hard with house-hold utilities. The design of carpet means it’s filled with thick fibres that provide deep grooves for germs to hide in – and a regular vacuum cleaner just doesn’t create enough of a vacuum to suck these all the way out. Bearing in mind how gravity works, a large proportion of all our dead skin cells, molecules of spittle and crumbs of food end up here.
As such it’s a good idea to not only vacuum regularly, but also to get professional carpet cleaning or to look into buying your own. Likewise you should avoid lying on the floor with your face, and definitely ignore the ‘ten second rule’.