Updated: Dec 24, 2020
We can't avoid germs, but if we know their most popular hangouts, we can guard and protect ourselves from getting sick.
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) researchers found the germiest place in schools (ranked by order of bacteria per square inch) were the classroom water fountain spigot, water fountain spigot in the cafeteria, plastic reusable cafeteria tray, cold water faucet handle, hot water faucet handle, cafeteria plate, classroom keyboard, toilet seat, student's hand, and animal cage. Your kids probably won't be interested in the study results, but talking to them about how to stay healthy is essential.
Here are some tips from WebMD:
Always wash hands (with soap!) after using the bathroom, before eating, drinking, or touching your nose, eyes, and mouth. Experts recommend washing hands for twenty seconds. That's about two rounds of Happy Birthday song.
Kids over six years old can use hand sanitizer. Put a travel size in their backpack.
Tell kids to sneeze and cough into a tissue and wash hands/use hand sanitizer on hands after. Or sneeze/cough into the crook of their elbow.
Be polite about it, but try to steer away from kids at school that is sick. At the very least, wash hands or use hand sanitizer after contact.
It seems rude and contradicts good manners, but avoid sharing, if possible. If you must share books, keyboards, pencils, etc. avoid touching the mouth, nose, or eyes and wash hands or use hand sanitizer after.
If your school allows it, send a water bottle to school.
THE MEMO ON GERMS
When it comes to the germiest places at work, we expect the usual suspects to be elevator buttons, door handles, and anything in the bathroom. What might surprise you is how much bacteria is lurking on your desk.
The NSF found desks contained 400 times more bacteria, viruses, and fungi than a toilet seat. And it's not just your desk but everything on your desk, like the phone, keyboard and writing utensils.
Since your hands are a primary mode of transportation for germs, it's essential to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to avoid infections. Another surprising locale for germs is the office kitchen/ break room.
NSF found fecal matter in 50 percent of the coffee reservoirs in coffee makers and communal coffee mugs were worse - with 60 percent testing for fecal matter.
Here are the CDC's tips for staying healthy at work.
If you are sick, stay home. If you get sick at work go home.
Wipe down your desk & workstation daily. Be sure to include all the surfaces you and others touch, like phone, keyboard, and other office components.
Routinely wipe down all frequently touched surfaces. Don't forget the copy machine buttons; faucet handles, vending machine buttons, microwave, and refrigerator door handles.
Stop touching your face! The National Institute of Health estimates we touch our face 16 times every hour. Each time you touch a bacteria-ridden surface and touch your face, you are giving bacteria easy access into your body.
Keep your own supply of tissues, hand sanitizing lotion, paper towels, and disinfecting wipes in your desk or at your work station.