Where the germs are

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 7:00am

As we watch the news about coronavirus, it seems like a good time to find out how to keep everyone’s exposure down. The coronavirus is primarily spread by droplets in the air so it’s important to cover coughs and sneezes.

But viruses can linger on surfaces, so here are some things you may want to consider so you can avoid what’s lurking out there – whether corona or flu or whatever.

- Avoid touch screen ordering at fast food restaurants and opt for ordering at the counter instead. Turns out tests have shown the screens are loaded with germs. And this is not only true for fast food restaurants, but anywhere the public is using touch screens.

- Working out at the gym? Try taking along a packet of sanitizing wipes or spray just in case the person who used the equipment before you had something you don’t want to catch.

- Careful with that menu. That’s right, restaurant menus can have more germs than bathrooms.

- Shopping carts. Most stores now offer wipes and be sure to use them.

- Taking the elevator? Those buttons can be germ-ridden, too.

- What’s in your wallet? ATM’s are germ-ridden, too and money truly is “filthy lucre.” Turns out the flu can live on bills for up to 17 days.

- Careful with fill ups. Studies have shown that gas pumps are hotbeds for germs – try a sanitizing wipe before you use one and use hand sanitizer when you’re done.

- Traveling? Consider taking along sanitizing wipes or disinfectant spray for your airplane seat, hotel room (including the TV remote), public bathrooms, swimming pools, playgrounds – in short, anywhere the public may have left germs behind.

The one thing all of these have in common is that in order to make you sick, germs have to get from the surface they’re on to your face – eyes, nose, or mouth. The advice to wash hands frequently and for more than a quick splash is serious – washing your hands stops viruses. And avoid touching your face unless your hands are clean.

While not 100% proven against the current coronavirus, Lysol and Clorox sanitizing wipes have been effective against other viruses. And finally, here’s the scoop on hand sanitizers: the Center for Disease Control says that in order to be effective, they should contain between 60-95% alcohol. Most hand sanitizers have sold out, so when they become available, look for those having more than 60% alcohol content.

If you or your child becomes sick, please stay home. The common cold is one thing, but if the news about coronavirus is accurate, it can be very serious for seniors and those whose immunity is compromised. Don’t go to work; don’t send your child to school. Please act responsibly.

Here’s hoping we all get through this latest public health threat safely.