If you could see a visual of all the germs you come into contact with every day, you might never go outside again. Bacteria and viruses are everywhere; luckily, not all of them are harmful. But every ailment from the stomach flu to a sore throat is introduced from your surroundings. Even if you do everything that you can to prevent yourself from catching anything, you could come down with a nasty cold or other illness.
“Viruses that spread the common cold can be everywhere!” warned Dr. JoAnn Yanez, vice chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH). “The common cold is transmitted through respiratory droplets in the air or on surfaces that have come in contact with the infected particles.”
But where do these particles hide? Some spots are germier than others.
“Think of all the places people put their dirty hands or where you can come in contact with infected surfaces,” Yanez advised. “Then you can begin to understand where you’re likely to get sick during cold and flu season.”
Doorknobs, money, and surfaces on public transportation were three of the most commonly touched surfaces Yanez warns about. In addition, airports, offices, and doctor’s offices are teeming with germs.
But one place you might not think contains infectious particles is one you spend the most time in — your own home. Studies show that kitchens are a breeding ground for all kinds of germs. And while the germs commonly swabbed for in these investigations are often salmonella and E. coli, the results are clear warning signs that other germs from food and your hands have been transferred, as well. If anyone in your household has a cold, you’re likely to be exposed to it via kitchen surfaces.
“Make sure you wash your hands prior to touching your face (especially your nose, mouth, and eyes),” advised Dr. Yanez. She also mentioned that it’s a smart idea to wash your hands before touching any food or surfaces in your house. You want to avoid transferring outside germs to your own living space, especially after you’ve been hanging around one of these germ-ridden places.