Things Not to Touch

Life is not a sanitary experience.  You are continually forced to be with hordes of humans with all types of coughs, colds and questionable hygiene habits.  If you are a “gemophobe,” you will want to carry a lot of antiseptic handy wipes with you, whether you go to the movies, a sports stadium, church or any number of travel venues.

Suzy Strutner, Associate Lifestyle Editor of The Huffington Post says, “Studies have found nasty germs – from E. coli that causes severe diarrhea to MRSA bacteria that’s resistant to many antibiotics — in all sorts of places,” and she has listed seven things to avoid touching when flying.

7 things to avoid touching on an airplane:

1. The armrests.  What?  Everybody uses the armrest!  Strutner says “researchers applied a virulent strain of E. coli to airplane armrests, the nasty bacteria stayed there for a whopping 96 hours — longer than it lasted on both tray tables and toilet flushers.”  She advises that “you definitely don’t want to rub your hands all over the armrest.”

2. The tray tables.  Ms. Strutner reports that “researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed them during a 2007 study, [and] four out of six tray tables tested positive for MRSA and noroviruses — a bevy of nasty, germs that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. What’s worse, many flight attendants say they only wash tray tables about once per day.”

3.  The inside door handle of the lavatory.  Way too many people, particularly men, do not wash their hands after using the restroom.   Enough said.

4.  The button that flushes the toilet.  This button may be even worse than the unsanitary door handle

5.  Likewise, the lavatory faucet handles.  These were used before you washed your hands, so yo might want to turn them off with a paper towel in your hand.

6.  The blankets.  They may be fresh at the beginning of the day, but after use, they are almost always folded up and reused throughout the day for many flights.  Meanwhile, users have been coughing, sneezing and drooling on them before it’s your turn.

7.  The toilet seat.  For obvious reasons my parents taught me to use seat covers and to avoid touching them all together.  And if I did, to wash hands thoroughly afterward.

6 things not to touch in a hotel room or resort:

1.  The bedspread.  They may give you clean sheets, but these things are almost never washed.  And without going into disgusting detail, all sorts of things have been done on them and spilled on them.

2.  The television remote.  These things have been used by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people after their hands have been involved in every sort of activity that could happen in a hotel room, and remotes are never cleaned.

3.  The telephone.  People with all sorts of sicknesses have been talking into the mouthpiece you are talking into.

4.  The door handles to the room or the bathroom on the inside or outside.  They are almost never cleaned, so whatever previous users had on their hands will be on yours.

5.  The bedside table top.  Dirty hands, used kleenexes, spilled foods and drinks and medicines have been there, and it is doubful that it has been cleaned.

6.  Your bank or credit card accounts with the hotel/resort wifi.  This is not a good place to check these accounts.  If you have used any hotel wifi with your computer, you have probably noticed lots of surrounding hotel wifi login options.  The point is this, there is no easier place in the world to steal your account info on the inteernet than when you are accessing it with this wifi system.

5 things not to touch on a cruise ship:

1.  The handles of the serving spoons at the buffet.  The stainless steel serving dishes are replaced constantly (every time one of them goes empty), but the same serving spoon that has been handled by hundreds of passengers is usually transfered, not replaced.

2.  The buffet food if children are serving themselves.  My wife and I were once at a buffet where dozens and dozens of children were grabbing foods, often with their hands – even putting some back after putting foods on their plates.  If you find this situation, leave the buffet and go to another onboard restaurant where you will be served by a waiter.

3.  The stateroom bedspread.  See above concerning the hotel bedspread.

4.  The stateroom television remote.  Likewise, see above concerning hotel TV remote.

5.  Stateroom door handles.  Door handles anywhere are a germophobe’s nightmare.  If you are like me, don’t think about it, because life is too short to be worrying about who has touched every handle you need to use.  Just remember to wash your hands often, and especially before eating.  On cruise ships you’ll find sanitizing solution at every entrance to every dining area.

Photos are taken in person or provided by the supplier except where credited.

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