Top 7 Germiest Public Places (Infographic)

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December 4, 2017

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This post is available in: Spanish

Keeping your hands clean after proper washing is the best protection against getting sick or spreading illness, according to public health officials. But with so many interactions at work, schools, restaurants, stores and other public places, it’s a formidable challenge to avoid the germiest surfaces and keep track of hand-washing.

The week of Dec 3-9 is National Handwashing Awareness Week. The observance is a reminder that viruses and bacteria can live for several hours on hard surfaces such as cafeteria and restaurant tables, telephone receivers, computer keyboards and doorknobs. And you can become infected with respiratory illnesses if you don’t wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Below is an infographic that covers seven of the germiest public places and surfaces, based on various clinical studies.

Frequent handwashing is your best protection against picking up germs and spreading the flu or other illnesses. Here’s a list of the best times to wash your hands, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Before eating.
• Before, during, and after handling or preparing food.
• After contact with blood or body fluids (like vomit, nasal secretions, or saliva).
• After changing a diaper.
• After you use the bathroom.
• After handling animals, their toys, leashes, or waste.
• After touching something that could be contaminated (such as a trash can, cleaning cloth, drain, or soil).
• Before dressing a wound, giving medicine or inserting contact lenses.
• More often when someone in your home is sick.
• Whenever they look dirty.

For the most effective cleansing, wash your hands for 20 seconds. That’s about how long it takes to sing Happy Birthday. If soap and water are unavailable, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will do the trick. Just be sure to use enough to cover the entire hand and rub the solution until it dries, usually about 15 to 20 seconds.

Infographic by Irina de Souza

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