Weather.com had an article recently about germs in public places. It is after all, that time of the year - flu season. Okay, I'll get this out from the start: I'm a germaphobe. Well not in the strictest sense of the term, but I am ALWAYS aware. Seven years ago I got sick. It turned into pneumonia and my wife took me to the hospital, not once but twice. I have never been so helpless in all my life. My mother and grandmother both died from pneumonia. Ever since that adventure, I am AWARE.
Here are some of the points brought out in the article. None, except for one, were a surprise to me.
1. Grocery cart handles. Yep, I always wipe the handle down. My store has anti-bacterial wipes at the door as you walk in. Thank you Safeway.
2. Table surfaces and condiment containers in restaurants. The doctor they interviewed for the article said he doesn't go so far as to use a napkin to pick up the ketchup bottle or... well I do! The article didn't mention your knife and fork sitting on the table surface when the waitress seats you. Think about it.
3. Laundromats. This is the one I had not considered but then I never go to a laundromat. Those wet clothes of yours picked up bacteria from the previous loads coming from households you cannot imagine.
4. Public restrooms. Rest assured, those faucet handles have many times more bacteria than the toilet seat. I trigger the toilet lever with my knee or a slip of TP in hand. When I leave, the paper towel is still in my hand when I pull on the door handle. I then turn and go for a 3 point shot for the trash can. No paper towels? Air blowers instead? I use my shirt tail on the door handle. And yes, I have stood there waiting for someone to come through the door and slip out once they pass.
5. Gas pump handles. No surprise there.
6. Children's playgrounds. Think about it.
7. Women's office desktops. This one was surprising in the sense that women's measured worse than men. Reason being was women had more contact with children and there is usually food items at women's workstations. Office desk tops measured 400 times more bacteria than toilet seats. This one made me think of this one lady at my bank. She's always coughing and hacking and blowing her nose. Yep, she licks her finger to thumb the bills in her hand. I stand clear of her.
8. The remote control. There's nothing worth watching on television anyway.
9. Your underwear (your underwear is a "public place"?). The article mentioned underwear should be washed separately from the rest of your clothing. Hey, just don't wear underwear. :))
10. Money. Of course.
11. Electronic stores. You like to go to Best Buy and play with the new computers, cameras, tablets and cellphones? We all do.
12. Toy stores. Kids play with all the toys and then your kid comes along behind them.
13. Door knobs, stair rails and I'll add on the rubber grip for the escalator. Look at the people holding onto that escalator grip the next time you are at the department store. Coughing, sneezing, wiping their nose, then put their hand back onto that rubber rail. Here I'll confess to another quirk of mine. On push/pull doors going into a store, I always use the one on the left, going in the OUT door. That handle on the other side of the OUT door gets significantly less usage than the designated entry door. Also my shirt tail or sleeve comes into action here again.
14. Airplane seats and restrooms. Oh don't get me started on airplanes! I don't fly anymore anyway.
This brings us to flu shots. I don't get them. There is a long list of viruses out there and they never know which one is going to be the main player for the upcoming season. One shot does not cover all the virus possibilities. So they make an educated guess as to which one it will be and make up vaccines for that one. It's crap shoot. My wife gets flu shots. She's gotten sick in spite of doing so. I've not been sick once since that bout with pneumonia 7 years ago. Besides, I'd have to go to Kaiser to get the shot and you think I want to be around all those sick people? That's like being on an airplane!