They're some of the dirtiest places in your life. Germ-infested, bacteria-covered and laden with viruses. You probably don't think twice before dragging the germs with you throughout your day. Health Magazine devised a list of the germiest places in your life and we've narrowed it down to the Top 10.
We'll start with one of the first places you hit after waking up: The bathtub. You step in to get clean, but it's actually dirtier than you think. A recent study found tubs typically had more than 100,000 bacteria per square inch! Dr. Dennis Rhoades, Medical Director at the North Myrtle Beach Doctor's Care, says you may want to rinse your tub more often than just when you typically clean.
"Get the antibacterial spray out and give it a good wipe down," Dr. Rhoades says.
Typically dirtier than your bathtub and next on our list is your kitchen sink. It's not just dirty dishes that are spreading germs. If you work outside and wash your hands at the kitchen sink when you come in, you've got a germ problem.
"Now you've got dirty handles and you're washing your dishes by touching dirty handles," Dr. Rhoades told us.
Once you're done washing the dishes, wipe out the sink and throw your sponges into the dishwasher for a cycle.
After the dishes, you might head into the laundry room to finish up a couple loads of clothes. Be careful what you touch after moving the wet clothes to the dryer.
"Your underwear, although it may look clean, can carry upwards of a gram of fecal material, millions of bacteria," Dr. Rhoades says. "If you don't wash it in hot enough water with a little bit of bleach, you're then taking that wet laundry, transferring it to your dryer and you have wet fecal material on your hands."
Next on our list: Places that could be part of your daily routine. The playground for your kids and exercise mats and machines at your gym. It might sound gross, but samples taken from playgrounds have found blood, mucus, saliva and urine on different surfaces. How many times a day does your little one put their hands in their mouth? It's enough to make you cringe.
At the gym, everything from yoga mats to the cardio machines carry germs. Aside from wiping down gym mats, try covering it up with your own towel before laying down. Afterward, take a shower with a good lather to rinse the bacteria off.
If you travel a lot, be ready for our next two germiest places: Airplane bathrooms and hotel room surfaces.
The airplane bathroom is cramped and overused and these little commodes have been found to have traces of E.Coli and fecal material on the walls, faucet, even door handle.
"Make sure you put the lid down, even in your own bathroom, because anytime there's a vortex action, there's a reverse action that comes up; we're spreading fecal material," Dr. Rhoades says. "Put the lid down."
Your hotel room has a lot of surfaces that collect germs.
"You have your doorknob, remote control, sink. You have the pens, the telephones -- these are things you might want to think twice about before you pick them up," Dr. Rhoades cautions.
If you work in an office, you'd better have some disinfectant wipes at your desk. Office phones have been found to have 25,000 germs per square inch. Your desk, computer keyboard and mouse collect bacteria, too, so start your day off with a quick wipe down.
If you stop to grab some cash during your day, try and remember to wash your hands soon after. The ATM buttons are full of germs because they're not getting cleaned as much as they're getting used.
Women's handbags are dirtier than you think, too. Many women set it on the floor of a restaurant or restroom or in a shopping cart. Our experts say try to always hang it on a hook and look for leather or vinyl handbags, because they don't carry as many germs as cloth ones.
Last on our list of the germiest places in your life: Shopping carts. A lot of grocery stores now offer antibacterial wipes so you can clean the handles, but Dr. Rhoades says don't stop there.
"People are putting their children in the seats of the cart. You've got little ones who have dirty diapers and you don't think about it," he says. "Yes, we're wiping down the handle, but you also have to wipe down the seat, because where do you put your bananas?"
Dr. Rhoades says there's a really simple way to combat the viruses caused by these germy places: Washing your hands.
"Eighty percent of all infections that we get come from inadequate hand washings," warns Dr. Rhoades.
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