How to steer clear of germs

Washington PostJuly 7, 2014 

Ladies, a lot of you religiously spread out one of those paper toilet-seat covers when you use a public restroom. But you probably don’t wash the handle of your favorite purse once a week – and as a result, you may be coming into contact with more germs than you would on an uncovered toilet seat. So say health care researchers in “Seven Ways to Steer Clear of Germs,” an online article in Women’s Health magazine.

The warning isn’t all that surprising – nor are some of the other “germ hubs” that writer Kenny Thapoung has identified from a variety of articles and blogs. Take your smartphone. Literally – take your smartphone and swab it with an alcohol-free wipe once a week, then dry it with a soft cloth.

When you consider all the escalator rails and ATM buttons and maybe doggie cleanup bags you touch, it’s not surprising that any object you pick up and put down several times a day is filthy. (One “gag-worthy” study showed that one in six mobile phones was contaminated with E.coli, Thapoung says.)

So clean your phone, and use a disinfectant wipe on your handbag. And if it’s one of those big hobo bags, avoid tossing in used tissues, your dirty gym socks or the bag with the remains of your lunch unless you’re willing to wipe out the inside once a week.

Other advice: Use a metal water bottle (and wash it often), because plastic bottles retain more germs. Wash your makeup brushes. And that old standby: Wash your hands often, and correctly.

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