Sunday, October 16, 2011

Surprising Germ Havens: Supermarket

Surprising Germ Havens: At The Grocery Store
Those plastic covers made for the seat area of the shopping cart were created for good reason: “We find more E. coli on shopping carts than on toilet seats,” Dr. Gerba says. “In addition to germs from food, children’s dirty bottoms are going in the seat—and the carts are hardly ever cleaned.”

The checkout screens where you swipe your credit or ATM card aren’t great, either. In some grocery stores, up to 80% have E. colion them—likely picked up from people handling leaky meat packages and unwashed produce, then touching the screen. Another germy spot: Your reusable grocery bag. Yes, you’re being environmentally conscious, but bacteria from meat and produce from your last trip are probably still in there. “Only 3% of people surveyed say they have ever washed their totes, and half use them for carrying other things, like dirty clothes,” Dr. Gerba says. “That’s like hauling your groceries home in your dirty underwear.”
Keep It Clean: Wipe grocery cart handles and seats with a disinfecting wipe (look for a dispenser in your supermarket) and line the seat area with a plastic bag before wheeling it around the store. After leaving the store, be sure to wash your hands or apply sanitizing hand gel. In addition to washing reusable bags regularly, set one aside for raw meats, or wrap meat packages in a plastic bag before putting them in your tote.
What about money and pens? Yes, they’ve been handled by hundreds of people, but your risk of contamination from money is low because germs stick to the porous fibers of paper bills and don’t transfer easily to your hands, Dr. Gerba says. Nickel and copper have antimicrobial properties that make coins relatively low-risk. Public pens have also come up surprisingly clean in Dr. Gerba’s research. “In some stores, pens are disinfected at the end of the day,” he says.
The Bottom of Your Bag, Suitcase or Backpack
You come home after your bag has been in a shopping cart, on the floor and who knows where else and plop it on the kitchen counter. Get ready for the gross factor: Research shows that bacteria like E. coli cling to the bottom of 18% of bags. Keep bags off the floor and whatever you do, don’t set a bag on any surface where food is made or eaten.
Woman’s Day “No More Colds! What Really Kills Germs.” 


Post a Comment

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Best CD Rates