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With Cold and Flu Season in Full Force,
Watch Out for These "Germ Hotbeds"


Cold and flu season has arrived in the United States, and as most people are all too well aware, it spreads easily through respiratory droplets passed from person to person. These droplets can come directly from someone who already has the illness (such as through a kiss or shaking hands) or it can come from touching an object that has the virus on it.

Where in your home are you most likely to come in contact with cold and flu viruses? Whichever places you and your family touch the most!

It's true that, unless you are prepared to barricade yourself in your home and refuse to go out or let anyone in, it's likely impossible to avoid every surface that could potentially harbor illness-causing germs.

The fact is, you're going to touch germy things, and you're going to do this countless times a day. This is why washing your hands regularly with soap and water is still one of the best ways to prevent colds and flu. Bolstering your immune system with a healthy diet, exercise and stress-relief methods is another line of defense that can keep the flu bug from making you its next victim.

Still, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so it certainly can't hurt to know where you're MOST likely to encounter germs, and a lot of them at that. Here we've scoured the research to find out the TOP "germ hotbeds" to watch out for.

Refrigerator Door Handles and TV Remote Controls

Scientists at the University of Virginia tested surfaces in the homes of people with colds and found that refrigerator door handles and TV remotes were likely to carry cold germs about 40 percent of the time. Other "hotspots" in the homes were:

  • Doorknobs (6 out of 18 carried cold germs)

  • Light switches (3 of 13)

  • Bathroom faucets (8 of 10)

  • Phones (4 of 7)

  • Dishwasher handles (3 of 4)

Toys in Pediatricians' Offices

In a separate study, researchers from the University of Virginia tested the toys in offices of five pediatricians in Virginia three times during the 2007 cold and flu season. Cold viruses were found on 20 percent of toys in the "sick child" waiting room, 17 percent in the "well child" waiting room and 30 percent of toys in a sack reserved for children who were well behaved during a shot.

Computer Keyboards and Mice

Outbreaks of the norovirus, which accounts for more than 90 percent of stomach flu outbreaks in the United States each year, have been linked to contaminated computer keyboards and mice, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in January.

"There is evidence that shared objects and surfaces help transmit disease," said Dr. Shua Chai, a CDC epidemiologist. "This is the first time that we have demonstrated that keyboards and computer mice can be a source of transmission of norovirus,"

Another study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology also found germs were widespread on computer keyboards. Twenty-five computers from the University of North Carolina's (UNC) burn intensive care unit, cardiothoracic intensive care unit and six nursing units were tested for bacteria. The researchers found that every computer keyboard was contaminated with two or more microorganisms.

TV remotes are a germ hotbed because they're touched all the time but are rarely disinfected.

Popular Public Places

As you might suspect, public areas that are the most frequented are also those that tend to harbor the most germs.

According to researchers at the University of Arizona, who tested over 800 public surfaces in four U.S. cities, one out of every five surfaces in places like shopping centers, offices, day care centers and airports are contaminated. Following are the top 10 germiest places the researchers found (germs are able to survive on these surfaces anywhere from just a few hours to a few weeks).

  1. Playgrounds

  2. Bus rails/armrests

  3. Public bathrooms

  4. Shopping cart handles

  5. Escalator handrails

  6. Chair armrests

  7. Vending machine buttons

  8. Shared pens

  9. Public telephones

  10. Elevator buttons

How Can You Avoid Disease-Causing Germs?

PerfectClean Cloths:
Don't Leave Home Without Them

PerfectClean OfficePure PackThe PerfectClean OfficePure Pack is an essential tool for keeping germs at bay. The cloths are made with a revolutionary ultramicrofiber construction that enables them to reach deep into microscopic crevices (NO other cleaning tool available even comes close!) to actually remove dirt and bacteria, not just push it around like ordinary cleaning rags.

Plus, these cloths are small enough to slip into your pocket, purse, or desk drawer, and you can use them without any cleaning products or water. Simply pull out the cloth, wipe down any number of surfaces, and enjoy the peace of mind in knowing your home and office are truly clean.

Learn more and order your PerfectClean OfficePure Pack now!

Americans touch about 300 different surfaces every 30 minutes, so, again, washing your hands regularly -- especially before eating, touching your mouth, eyes or nose, and after coming home from a public place -- is a crucial defense.

Routinely disinfecting frequently touched surfaces both at home and in your office is also highly important. Wiping down appliance handles, computer keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, etc., is an excellent way to help reduce the spread of disease, and we highly recommend the PerfectClean OfficePure Pack for doing so.

Unlike ordinary cleaning rags that simply push dirt around, PerfectClean's revolutionary ultramicrofiber construction enables them to reach deep into microscopic crevices (NO other cleaning tool available even comes close!) and remove everything in their path, including biological contaminants too small to see with the naked eye. Even better, the terry cloths that come in the PerfectClean OfficePure Pack are ideal to carry with you, and can be used without cleaning agents or even water, and are still incredibly effective.

You can keep one in your purse, backpack or pocket, and quickly wipe off shopping cart handles, computer keyboards, phones, pens and other germy objects before touching them. You can even discreetly wipe your hand off with the cloth after shaking hands or touching a door handle.

Other commonsense precautions to help avoid the cold and flu? Do not share utensils, glasses or hand towels with others (including at home) and avoid close contact with anyone who is already sick (if possible).

Recommended Reading

The Five Key Areas of Illness-Causing Germs & Toxins in Your Home

The Surprising 9 Jobs With the Highest Germ Exposure -- and What You Can do About It


Yahoo News October 28, 2008 January 3, 2008

International Journal of Environmental Health Research 2005 Jun;15(3):225-34.

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