Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Not To Touch During Flu Season

Despite of everyone’s inherent susceptibility of falling ill every flu season, did you know that you can lessen your chances of catching the flu by avoiding touching certain everyday items?

By: Ringo Bones

Human ergonomic studies conducted since the 1960s have shown that we humans who work in an urban office setting grab up to 30 objects a minute while at the same duration of time also tend to touch our faces at least five times. Given that droplets of moisture laden with flu viruses tend to increase their chances of infecting us humans as they get close to the proximity to our respiratory tract – as in within our facial area, are there steps – i.e. precautionary measures - to be taken to lessen our chances of getting the flu during the dreaded flu season?

Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water or using an effective antimicrobial hand sanitizer before touching your face certainly helps, but there are everyday objects that you should be mindful of before touching them because they are seldom cleaned by those in charge of them. Restaurant menus are one of the usual magnets of microbial pathogens because they tend to be treated by antibacterial cleaning agents only after the restaurant’s closing time for the next day’s business. So too are fast-food and restaurant condiment dispensers that tend to be cleaned only after closing time.

Door knobs in public restrooms make excellent hubs for microbial pathogens on their way to infect us because users who go into the public restrooms tend to have already dirty hands and those exiting are more often than not – didn’t wash their hands thoroughly or used an effective hand sanitizer. And so too are water faucets in public restrooms, though you can lessen your chances of catching flu viruses from these by wiping them with paper towels before using them.

Shopping cart handles are also a veritable magnet of microbial pathogens and parents of toddlers should be wary because tots slung in the “kid holder” part of the shopping cart tend to lick the shopping cart handles with their tongues. But believe it or not, recent studies have found out that copper and silver coins do not harbor pathogens – contrary to earlier popular belief – because copper and silver ions formed on the surface of these types of coins tend to have excellent antibacterial properties. Ancient Egyptians even used copper and silver coins to purify drinking water by heating them and then dunking these metals into the container of water intended to be purified over 4,000 years ago.

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