Novel Ways You Could Have Picked Up Those Germs
Less Common Methods of Spreading Germs
Not all disease vectors, the methods of spreading germs, are immediately obvious. What are some of the other ways you could have picked up those germs?
- Young children often have trouble identifying what is theirs versus what belongs to another. In some cases, they find it funny to swap. This ranges from cute to frustrating until one child has strep throat and the other child uses their toothbrush.
- Thrush is a yeast infection that typically affects young children and nursing mothers. Sterilizing baby bottles and pacifiers kills the pathogen on those surfaces. But you cannot forget teething toys, crib railings and anything else your child has been chewing upon or they will re-infect themselves.
- Reusing soda bottles to store water encourages drinking water over soda and is cheaper than buying bottled water. Yet I’ve never seen anyone run a used soda bottle through the dishwasher after drinking it. I have picked up a virus from the soda bottle holding water, not knowing that my sick husband had been drinking from them the day before.
- While kissing is a sign of affection, you may also exchange bodily fluids - and pick up that person's germs.
- Playing in the dirt has known hazards such as insect bites. Unfortunately, MRSA has also been found in the soil in some areas. Fortunately to date, this has not led to mass pandemics from children playing in the sandbox.
- When your dog has been rolling around in another critter's poop, put on gloves before you wash the animal. Parasites and germs spread through fecal matter - including that of other species.
- Wearing protective gloves protects the worker from exposure to pathogens, whether they are TSA agents searching others, childcare providers changing diapers or food handlers preparing food. However, wearing the same gloves through a series of tasks spreads any germs from one location to another.
- It is frustrating to deal with a sick child and a sick pet. Did you know that one infection can be shared among the two? Streptococcal infection can be carried in both humans and dogs, with children and pets re-infecting each other. And it isn’t cured until both critters are cured at once.
- Wear gloves when working with the compost pile. You can get a nasty infection from the bacteria breaking down last week's potato salad.
- Ticks, fleas and mosquitoes are well known to spread various pathogens. Don't forget that flies can spread diseases, too, by landing on compost and then landing on your food.
- Anything touched with germy hands can leave minute amounts of those germs. We think about this when we open the bathroom door at the restaurant. Don't forget about the light switches, door knobs and car door handles in someone else's home. Or the keyboards at a public kiosk.
- Spitting in public was banned because it was not only nasty but another way germs could be spread. Be careful about putting your mouth on the nozzle on the water fountain or touching your mouth to the microphone, since it could carry someone else's saliva, too.
- If other children put their mouth on the water fountain while drinking, your child could contract their germs when doing the same.
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