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Germs

The top places where germs lurk: cell phones, ATMs and more

Sunday, September 16, 2012 by: Fleur Hupston
Tags: germs, cell phones, air travel

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(NaturalNews) Germs (meaning bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms) are everywhere - at home, in the office, on door handles or on the soles of shoes. Fortunately, about 99 percent of them are harmless. But the other one percent can lead to a potentially life-threatening infection at worst, or an annoying cold at best.

Cellphones and other gadgets hide germs

A recent study undertaken by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that hands and mobile phones were contaminated with bacteria, including the dangerous Escherichia coli. According to the study, it was found that one in six mobile phones in Britain is contaminated with fecal matter (E. coli), usually as a result of not washing hands properly after going to the toilet.

According to the LSHTM, "The findings of the UK-wide study by scientists from LSHTM and Queen Mary, University of London reveal a tendency among Britons to lie about their hygiene habits. Although 95 percent of people interviewed said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92 percent of phones and 82 percent of hands had bacteria on them."

Fecal bacteria can survive on hands and surfaces for hours, especially in warmer temperatures, and can easily be transferred by touch to door handles, food and mobile phones. These germs are then easily transferred to other people, with potentially lethal effects.

Air travel, germs and bugs

Air travel can be a risky undertaking when it comes to exposure to germs, bacteria and microbes. British Airways planes have been grounded recently due to bed bug infestations. Pillows and blankets are not always properly cleaned before being re-packaged.

In-flight meals are a risk in themselves, as you never know who has been handling your food. Tray tables have been shown to host the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and norovirus, highly contagious viruses that can result in vomiting, diarrhea and cramping.

Airplane toilet seats, sinks, flush handles and faucet handles have been found to harbor E. coli and salmonella bacteria.

ATM machines and gyms harbor germs

MRSA bacteria lurks on gym machines and can be transmitted by wiping gym equipment with a towel and re-using the towel to wipe sweat off the face. Be careful of gym showers where fungi such as tinea pedis grow in the warm, steamy shower areas.

ATMs, credit card and debit card machines at checkouts are invariably covered with germs. Being cautious and washing hands regularly minimizes the risk of contracting diseases due to unclean surfaces.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.lshtm.ac.uk

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://edition.cnn.com

http://www.medicinenet.com/norovirus_infection/article.htm

About the author:
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about living as natural a life as possible and reducing damage to the environment wherever possible. She spends a lot of time researching and writing about alternate medicines and healthy, green living, and manages to find the time to home-school her two daughters.

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