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Caregiver Tip: Germ Hot Spots to Avoid

Sun, Feb 04, 2018 at 11:25AM


This week’s Florida Department of Health flu report described a sharp increase in flu activity, with a heavy impact on high-risk groups such as seniors over age 65.


The flu season is in full swing and most people carry that in the back of their mind every time they leave their house. The last thing you need as a caregiver is to get sick, but worst of all, is the thought of passing the illness to a senior who entrusts you with their well-being.


Cold and flu viruses can live for 18 hours on hard surfaces, and 80% of germs are spread by your hands.


It is important to take precautions to avoid the best places were germs are easily spread. Here are the top 10 germ hot spots you encounter every day.

  1. Shopping carts- Viruses can live for two hours on the handle of a shopping cart. Many stores keep antibacterial wipes at the entrances, so grab a few and give it a good wipe down before you shop.
  2. Gas pumps- First of all, gas pumps are never cleaned and hand after hand touches the same spots. Not just the handle is highly contaminated with germs, but also the “enter” key on the pin pad.
  3. Doorknobs- This is a very common place to pick up a virus or bacteria especially when you are busy running errands. You can’t help but touch them, but you can help from touching your face afterwards.
  4. ATM buttons- There have been studies comparing the germs found on buttons of the ATM compared to those found on public toilets. Let’s just say you should rub on some hand sanitizer right away…
  5. Bathroom sinks- Surprisingly the sink in a bathroom has more bacteria than the toilet, especially in public restrooms.
  6. Restaurant menus- Who would think of this, but it makes perfect sense. An average of 185,000 bacteria can be found on the menu you touch just before you eat your meal.
  7. Cell phone- Your cell phone goes everywhere you do and is a big time germ hot spot. One study found the cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than toilet seats.
  8. Purses- Everyone know that putting your purse on the bathroom floor is a big no no, but do you really think about the other places you set it down? Purses pick up bacteria everywhere you go, and then the first thing you do when you get home is to drop it on the kitchen counter…
  9. Remote controls- Yet another little thing that people forget to wipe down, especially if someone in your house is sick.
  10. Handrails- It is natural to grab a handrail while going up stairs or riding an escalator. Be aware that this is a great hiding place for viruses that will get you sick.


 Viruses and bacteria are everywhere. While you can’t avoid them, you can take precautions to keep them out of your body. Be aware, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid touching your face, and live your life.


What to know more? Read our blog “ Handwashing 101"  for a great refresher course.



Stayed tuned to the County Health Care Guide Blog to learn more about assisted-living, senior care, senior placement, and important senior news in Volusia County. From Daytona to Port Orange to New Smyrna Beach, the County Health Care Guide is the only resource you need.

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