MENTAL HEALTH

7 germiest public places
According to the book, "List Maker's Get-Healthy Guide," a book from the editors of Prevention Magazine, average adults can touch as many as 30 objects within a minute that include germ-harboring, high-traffic surfaces. Learn where the germiest objects are

<b>Restaurant Menus</b>

A recent study in the Journal of Medical Virology reported cold and flu viruses can survive for 18 hours on hard surfaces. In a popular restaurant, hundreds of people could be touching the menus, passing their germs to you - and the staff may or may not be wiping them down.  Don't let a menu touch your pace or silverware, and wash your hands after you place your order.

<b>Lemon Wedges</b>

Nearly 70 percent of the lemon wedges on the rims of restaurant glasses contain disease-causing microbes, according to a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health.  Researchers ordered drinks at 21 different restaurants and found 24 different microorganisms lingering on the 65 lemons they secured, including E. coli. 

<b>Soap Dispensers</b>

Fecal matter contaminates about 25 percent of public restroom dispensers.  The containers are mostly never cleaned, so bacteria grows as the soap scum builds up, says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist.  Gerba says these containers are never cleaned - and the same hands that touch derrieres are touching them, so there's a continuous culture feeding millions of bacteria.  Scrub your hands thoroughly with plenty of hot water for 15 to 20 seconds and if you have hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based, use that also.

<b>Airplane Bathrooms</b>

Surfaces inside the bathrooms of commercial jets were found to be contaminated with E. coli.  And, you instantly become more suspetible to viruses and germs on a plane: You're 200 times more likely to catch a cold at this time, according to a recent study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research.  

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Restaurants are unlikely to regularly clean their condiment dispensers - and chances are the consumers using them aren't washing their hands. You may want to use hand sanitizer after using the ketchup or mustard on your table.

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Fecal matter contaminates about 25 percent of public restroom dispensers.  The containers are mostly never cleaned, so bacteria grows as the soap scum builds up, says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist.  He says the containers, which are touched by people who just touched their derrieres, are rarely cleaned, so there's a continuous culture feeding millions of bacteria.  Scrub your hands thoroughly with plenty of hot water for 15 to 20 seconds and if you have hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based, use that also.

<b>Grocery Carts</b>

A 2007 study from the University of Arizona found about two-thirds of grocery cart handles contained fecal matter. Eww! The study found the carts had more bacteria than restrooms. Next time you go shopping, wipe down the cart handle with a disinfectant wipe, which many stores are now offering. 

7 germiest public places

According to the book, "List Maker's Get-Healthy Guide," a book from the editors of Prevention Magazine, average adults can touch as many as 30 objects within a minute that include germ-harboring, high-traffic surfaces. Learn where the germiest objects are

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