How to Protect Yourself from Germs in Public

How to Protect Yourself from Germs in Public

You can defend yourself from germs at home and the office but what can you do to avoid those grievous germs in public? Not just any old germs but militant microbes and backbiting bacteria.

For example, how many germ-laden objects do you think you touch within 15 minutes when you go to your doctor’s office? Five? Ten? Twenty? I conducted my own rigorous, scientific, objective test the other day by assiduously counting every foreign (and domestic) object I touched within that time limit when I visited my doctor for a flu shot.

Here is the list of my actions and the items I touched:

1 – Received parking stub for car from parking attendant

2 – Opened door to doctor’s office building

3 – Pressed elevator button on lobby floor

4 – Held elevator door for person in wheelchair

5 – Pressed button inside for 4th floor

6 – Held elevator door for wheelchair person to exit on 3rd floor

7 – Opened door to doctor’s outer office

8 – Held office pen to sign in

9 – Held clipboard to keep it from falling off narrow ledge. It fell off anyway.

10 – Picked up magazine from stack on table to read while waiting

11 - Opened door to doctor’s inner office

12 – Hugged three assorted assistants to doctor (had not seen them for six months)

13 – Held on to scale while being weighed (so I wouldn’t faint from the shock)

14 – Touched doorknob when entering examination room

15 – Picked up Kleenex box to extract tissue for incipient sneezes (I think I’m allergic to doctors)

16 – Hugged doctor when he entered (no, not what you think; he’s just a close friend)

17 – Opened inner office door when leaving

18 – Opened outer office door

19 – Pressed button for elevator on 4th floor

20 – Held maniacal elevator from swiftly closing on me on lobby floor

21 – Opened outer door of building

22 – Gave ransom of one dollar to parking attendant

23 – Received my key from parking attendant (car was parked nearby).

One doctor's office visit, fifteen minutes, and I had touched 23 germy surfaces crawling with invisible microbes. What should I have done to avoid that army of militant germs just waiting to attack? Here are my suggestions.

Palm a folded paper towel to use when you need to touch elevator buttons, door knobs or any other surface. Carry your own pen to use when signing in. Try to sit two chairs away from sneezing, coughing waiting patients if possible. Germ droplets from coughing and sneezing can travel in the air about three feet.

If waiting room is crowded, wait in hallway outside the office. If you want to read, bring your own reading material or use your smart phone to catch up on emails and messages. Carry a small vial of sanitizer to use on your hands when you can’t avoid touching grimy, germy surfaces.

There are other places where you need to be just as vigilant. How about that shopping cart in the supermarket? How many millions of germs are making the handle their home right now? Use a disinfectant wipe to wipe the handle before grabbing it (some stores are starting to provide them). If you don’t have a wipe handy, use that folded paper towel to push the cart.

How about public restrooms? They are teeming with militant microbes. Wash your hands with hot water rubbing vigorously for about 20 seconds. Do not count aloud. Do NOT use the soap dispenser. I hear you asking why? A recent University of Arizona study found that almost 25% of soap containers are contaminated with fecal bacteria. The containers are seldom cleaned so the soap scum builds up and feeds millions of bacteria.

How about the menus in restaurants? Should you wash yours? No, but do not let that menu touch your plate or silverware under any circumstances. Wash your hands with hot water – no soap – after you place your order. The Journal of Medical Virology has reported that cold and flu viruses can survive for 18 hours on hard services. Hordes of patrons have handled those menus and are passing their germs on to you.

One more caution. Condiments! It’s okay to use ketchup and mustard on your burgers in the restaurant. But few restaurants regularly clean the condiment containers. And most of us do not wash our hands before eating. So someone else’s grimy germs could be on your fingers – and your fries. Use your hand sanitizer on the outside of the condiment bottle or use a disinfectant wipe or your handy paper towel before you grab it.

Don’t worry if others begin to see you as germophobic – you are simply being more careful and protecting your health. Trust me.

This last cartoon is your reward for reading this far. I just wanted to leave you with a smile on your face.

The real reason, Ms. Bossy, the cow I "interviewed" in "Everyone Should own a Goat or a Cow or a Pig" is driving me crazy. She wants a bovine item to appear on my every hub. I should have known she was going to be a problem.

© Copyright BJ Rakow 2011. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So"

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Comments for How to Protect Yourself from Germs in Public 82 comments

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 5 years ago from Australia

Gross! My sister carries one of those little bottles of hand sanitizers all the time. I figure a little bit of bacteria can help you build a stronger immune system :) profile image 5 years ago

I disagree but enjoyed this drbj! Don't be paranoid (I say) - protect yourself by exposing yourself more! Touch/hug more things get coughed on, sneezed on more - and get more microbes attacking you - turn the other cheek - let them attack that too! Eventually they will make friends with you and learn that you need each other to survive. Of course, you might also get very sick will have developed an iron constitution. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Cough Cough! (I'm always getting bugs from my childrens bugs from school!)

De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

My wife always carries a bottle of germicidal gel and knowing that I am a peasant, she always makes sure that she uses it on me as well. She even makes me wash my hands BEFORE I go to the toilet :-)))

Clever stuff this Sweetheart :-)

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I am presently suffering from a very severe chest infection and have to go onto a second, but stronger course of antibiotics tomorrow because the first ones didn't get to the root of the problem. Obviously when on antibiotics (and afterwards) one's resistance to another infection is lowered... and I have a friend coming to stay for a while, who has just returned, by aeroplane (poor air circulation/conditioning), from the Congo (Nasty foreign germs) having travelled through France and Belgium (Equally nasty European germs). She's going to want to embrace me and kiss me three times on the cheek.

I may as well book myself into the local hospital, now!

Hummingbird5356 profile image

Hummingbird5356 5 years ago

Very good hub. I have seen a report on tv a while ago about this subject. It showed that there is fecal matter in lots of places you wouldn't think, including on cinema seats.

This could give you nightmares.

Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

ewww, germs... Well some germs are good for us, some bad. I have a friend who refuses to use a public restroom, unless it's an emergency, then she makes me hold the door open for her. Going in and out. Me? I can't pass a bathroom, must visit them all. I always use strictly hot water-no soap, the brands the stores us dry my skin out terribly.

amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

You surely don't want to make your immune system completely redundant; that's like keeping a dog, and barking yourself.

Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

I was gonna' chime in about the benefits of building immunity, but everyone beat me to it. I loved the research you did for this, and the cow stripper cartoon is one of my faves.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

Oh, Yes there are many germs out there but I belive that it is no need to be afraid of them, just cautious! I wash my hands frequently and when I visit a place where I know there are much germs I make sure I keep my hands away from my face until I had the chance to wash them.

If we know they are there we can create a routine to reduce the risks but I don´t use germicide because then I will kill the good germs as well. Very good article that shows where the risks are! Tina

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Microbiologists have culture!

I've been around petri dishes full of all kinds of germs which I cannot even pronounce like pseudomonas, (sp) or staphyloccus or streptococcus. Then there's Brucellosis, cryptosporidium and even anthrax.

Ok, germs are scary. But as long as you stay reasonably healthy they don't get a foothold.

Viruses, on the other hand are devious and deadly. No one should go out on the streets without a class 5 hazmat suit on and an EPA respirator approved to filter out viruses. Of course, you can't breathe with one of those filters and suits on either. Maybe that's why the viruses have their way with us.

Just do the best you can and live as long as you can. That's the only way to go.

P.S. the cow cartoon is amazingly funny!

always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

OMG, Fecal bacteria on soap containers, do people not know how to wipe? Thank's for all the tips. I will now wear a mask and rubber gloves when visiting my Gynecologist, I loved your cartoon. Hee


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

The cow stripper cartoon was definitely over the top and the bar was risen to new heights for me. I do my best to keep away from germs, however it's impossible. There are to many to chase down, so I carry my own germridder with me in my saddle.

I use all the germ liquids offered in buildings, you can find them in most Federal buildings and Hospitals, why they don't place them everywhere is a wonderment to me. I guess they only want to protect government officials and doctors and nurses, he he.

Oh well stop bitching Ken and keep your wipes handy. I am always amused by those chronic militant germophobic's like Howie Mandell, you notice he never shakes a persons hand on greeting, he is one of those militants, he he. good for him.

Great write drbj, lots of bacteria to chew here and spit out real quick. I try my best to keep up with living and all it's change. There is so much out there, one never knows who is right and who is wrong in their thinking.

I have lived this long without dying yet, so I will just keep on keeping on and enjoying the values and habits I live with. Hugs

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, marco, so nice to have you stop by. You may be right about a little bit of bacteria being helpful with regard to our immune system. The problem is that there are billions of bacteria out there (gloating, I'm sure) just waiting to get a free ride. On you.

And congratulate your sister for being so wise. My best to you both.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

I don't mind at all disagreement, psychicdog. Someone once said something like I don't agree with your views but I will defend your right to the death to say them. Me, too. Though not necessarily to the death. That is a bit much.

As for catching bugs from your kids who catch them at school, the solution is simple. Keep them home! They will love you for it.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Dimi my dearest one, I already knew you were clever but now I know you are also brilliant to choose a wife with such wisdom and prescience. I suppose washing one's hands before a visit to the loo can't hurt. Just don't forget after.

Thanks for the 'clever stuff.' Regards to the little woman.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Dear Twilight Lawns - so sorry to hear about your health problem. Be careful with those antibiotics - make sure your doctor knows of every medication you may be taking.

You are wise to be a little wary of your friend who will be visiting and may be harboring, innocently of course, various divergent foreign, as well as domestic, germs.

Tell her you can't embrace her when she arrives since you have such a severe infection and don't want to make her ill. Be aware that may even cut down on the length of her visit..

Do NOT book yourself into the local hospital unless it's a last resort. The germs you can easily pick up there are more severe and resistant to drugs than any doctor will willingly tell you.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Why am I not surprised? Of course there is fecal matter on cinema seats as well as many other places - like at the concession stand for example. Eewwwwww!

Solution: when you attend movies, bring your theater candy (only $1 at US drugstores) from home, your self-popped popcorn, and bottle of water - hidden somewhere in your bag or on your person. Theaters do not appreciate their customers eating into (joke) their profits.

Thanks for stopping by.

2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Wow, germs really are everywhere. It is a wonder why we are not all sick! Thanks for listing the place were germs are.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are correct, susie, some germs are good for us. The problem is there are so many malicious germs out there you don't want to take chances.

Seems like going to a public restroom with your germ-aversive friend must be somewhat of a challenge. Be sure to take along your paper towel. You are smart not to use the soap dispensers.

Like you, I've never seen a bathroom I didn't want to visit. :)

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Absolutely, amillar, some germs are necessary such as the good bacteria that exist in our stomachs to fight the bad bacteria.

I liked your clever analogy: "keeping a dog, and barking yourself." Always appreciate your visits.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You, Stan, are welcome to chime in any time. Yes, there are benefits to building immunity. I am simply advocating cutting down on the numbers of germs one encounters just by existing.

Thank you for loving the research and my cartoon of the cow stripper - one of my faves, too.

Have been meaning to ask you - did we have some winners for the second edition of your Contest? Jus wonderin.

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

I have a very robust immune system which makes life easier! Interesting hub drbj, and just shows that bacteria rule the world?

sunflowerbucky profile image

sunflowerbucky 5 years ago from Small Town, USA

Ok you've officially grossed me out to the point of not wanting to leave my house. In all actuality, though, I am a Clorox wipe fanatic, and I haven't been sick in years. Although, I work from I imagine that helps. Being a hermit has its merits. Love the cow cartoon....

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

There are a few germophobics amongst my friends – they are a nation on their own. This enemy called ‘Army of Germs’ is enormous. I’ve decided to ignore it while I follow only basic hygienic rules - I will certainly loose my mind when I zoom in on it. Thanks for the tips - I will add some of them to my basic rules and keep on hoping that gems are like crawling insects – more scared of me than I am of them. Excellent article about germs by a hubber per excellence, drbj!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

BJ, I'm not a germaphobe by any means but I believe a pound of prevention is worth a ton of cure....I only wear a surgical mask when I go out (I'm secretly hoping to look like Michael Jackson) and I wear rubber gloves with everything.

I also wear a holster with Lysol in both gun ports so I'm at the ready. Before entering any building or touching anything, I spray them all down with Lysol. This includes handshakes of ANY kind and hugs too - you can't be TOO careful!!

Of course we have to allow several hours, say 5, extra because all this disinfecting unfortunately eats up a lot of time when one is out and about. I also promptly come home, peel off everything in the garage in then go through a decontamination process in my shower.

I can't write more now though because I have to go take care of my runny nose and my cough. Thanks for the tips!

The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Good advice but on the flip side, I think I better just stay at home from now on! LOL

The Frog

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I grew up swimming in the South Saskatchewan river just downstream from the discharge from the sewage treatment plant. The water was warmer there. My immune system dealt with it all. It continues to do so without any worrying on my part regarding germs. So, good hub, but just a little over the top, I think. If we were that fragile, we'd have disappeared as a species ages ago. Lynda

Jeremey profile image

Jeremey 5 years ago from Arizona

The only people who should worry about these things are those with weakened immune systems. The average healthy person needs their share of 'outside' bacterial and viral germs to help keep their body's natural germ fighting abilities strong. Strange that many of the anti-bacterial products were originated from 'health' practictioner reports and studies! Maybe they figure if we can slowly weaken people's natural germ fighting abilities they will spend more money getting healthy again!

De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

DRBJ, the "little woman" is 5' 11" and she makes me wash my hands 'before' because she does not want me to touch her 'friend' with unwashed hands :-)))))))))))

Sherry 5 years ago

Great hub. Thank you for the tips.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Yes, Tina, caution where germs are concerned is always wise. I think it was the Duchess of Windsor - the one who won a king away from his British throne - who once said you can never be too rich nor too thin nor wash your hands often enough. Actually, she said the first two; I added the third.

Thanks for visiting and appreciating this article about germicidal risks.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Lela. Loved your "Microbiologists have culture!" line. You seem to be well acquainted with all sorts of exotic germs and their respective Latin families.

And you are so right. If you are healthy, you have a head start in fighting all those nasty germs.

Viruses, as you point out, are another story - where do I go to get that pretty red-colored Hazmat suit? On the other hand, with the apparent Japanese radiation fallout, germs may not be our biggest problem.

As the fellow said falling past the 37th floor of the skyscraper, "So far, so good!"

BTW - Just knew somehow you would appreciate that cow!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Yes, fecal bacteria, unfortunately, as well as other fascinating ubiquitous germs are everywhere - even where they are not supposed to be.

Dunno if a mask and rubber gloves will be enough - you might consider Lela's suggestion of that red Hazmat suit.

If you loved that cow cartoon, then we obviously share the same love of classical (?) humor. Cheers backatcha.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Yup, Ken, those saddle bags do come in handy to carry germicides, soap, wipes and paper towels.

You do make a good point. Those sanitizer machines should be everywhere in public places: stores, hospitals, government and office buildings. Cruise ship lines learned a few years ago how important those sanitizers are to keep the Norwalk virus from spreading on shipboard. It does help - a little.

And you're right - some people are much more germ-aversive than others. Oh, well, if it makes them happy to avoid handshakes, so be it.

As far as living so long without dying ... yet, you remind me of the old guy in his 80s who asked his doctor what he could do to live longer. The doc said, "Just give up wine, women and song." In his 90s he visited the doctor and told him, "I took your advice. Couldn't give up wine and women, but I did stop singing!"

Hugs backatcha - Bossie sends her regards!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

No thanks necessary, 2besure. It is entirely my pleasure to list some of the most common places to find those gregarious germs - places we don't always think about. If you are armed with your trusty paper towel and your hand sanitizer, you are ahead of the game.

Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

I can't believe that I am actually admitting this for all to read but I am a germaphobe, no doubt! I am so compulsive about germs and "things" that I carry around those towels that kill bacteria. At home, I use bleach & alcohol to obsessively mop & clean everything repeatedly especially with my foster cats living in the garage. (Love them, not their germs)- I hate to think about the time I spend indulging my OCD (as my sister says) but I know it is excessive. So, obviously I love your Hub, this is my life, self-confessed cleaning addict that I am but I do recommend that others remember: everything in moderation. Good Job, no doubt appreciated by me. ;-)

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are most fortunate, CM, to have a very robust immune system which makes your life easier. To what do you attribute this? Remarkable genes? or a laissez faire attitude by your mother or other caretakers who allowed you as a child to wallow in sand boxes, with or without cats, indefinitely?

Thanks for the 'interesting,' and you may be right: bacteria rule the world - if we let them.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

OK, sunflowerbucky, it's safe to leave your house for a little while today. I stood outside and sprayed three gallons of Clorox all over your doorway, walkway and your car. Don't thank me; it's the least I could do.

If you listen carefully you will hear those nasty little germs coughing their little heads off. Love you for loving the cow cartoon.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Martie, I wouldn't be surprised if many of us have germophobic friends. They are easy to recognize when they won't shake hands or share your candy bar - even when it's still wrapped and in pristine condition.

But some are closet germophobes and are more difficult to identify.

Following your own sensible rules of hygiene and the tips herein should keep you relatively germ-free. Love your analogy of said critters as being more scared of you than vise versa.

Thank you for the 'hubber par excellence' appellation. Your check is in the mail. :)

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Happy to hear, Audrey, that you have your local germ situation under control. Wearing a surgical mask is a neat idea but it just didn't work well for me.

When I wore it while introducing myself to a new acquaintance, in no time at all I would be asked to diagnose that person's various symptoms - even when I insisted I wasn't that kind of doctor.

Although when I wore my mask to the bank, the teller did give me a few thousand more than I had written on my withdrawal slip. But I returned the money. (They know where I live.)

I do like your idea of wearing a gunbelt with Lysol in the holsters. In fact I tried it out while shopping at the supermarket but I used Clorox and got too enthusiastic while spraying the produce. They won't let me shop there anymore.

I tried to install the decontamination shower at the doorway to my condo building but had to apply for a building permit to do so. They will call and let me know in a few years when the permit is ready. I should be out of prison by then.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your wonderful, thoughtful comments and suggestions. That's because they confiscated my computer, pens and pencils and I am only allowed to write with a crayon. If I send you my cell number could you send me a file and a Flair pen - black?

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to find you here, Frog Prince.

Yes, my tips (as well as many of my hubs) may seem flip at times, but that's because I try to follow the adage once stated by the sage humorist, Will Rogers.

Just about everything in life is funny ... as long as it's not happening to you.

May your life continue to be germ-free. :)

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Wow, Lynda, what a powerful immune system you must have.

To grow up while swimming in the river downstream from the sewage treatment plant. You must have developed a powerful crawl stroke to make it through all the assorted detritus. And learned to hold your breath for inordinately long periods of time while doing so.

You may have discovered the secret to becoming immune. Now if you can only discover how we can all remain radiation-free for at least the next millennium, you will have it made.

mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

I loved Audrey's comment! And I got a kick out of all the cartoons, especially the cow. An entertaining hub!

When I taught, I would catch a cold the first week of school and would not get well until the end of the school year. The school had mold, and the students were giant germs and viruses!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Jeremy, I'm fascinated by your premise that many anti-bacterial germicidal products have been largely supported by health practitioners. Interesting. I'll have to do some more research on that angle.

Since we can never be entirely germ-free and would not want to - some germs are useful - these tips can cut down on the number of bacteria we unknowingly come in contact with on a regular basis.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Whatever her height, sweet Dimi, do give her my best.

But I think I got information overload from your second comment. Heh, heh.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are most welcome for the tips, Sherry. Thank you for the 'Great hub.'

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Chatkath, nice to have you visit here.

I do appreciate your candor about being a germophobe. I don't think it's a bad thing unless it gets in the way of your normal living activities.

Actually there are more folks who share your behaviors than you might believe. You are not alone, my dear. I have a confession to make, too. I bought my present home from the queen of germophobes so I speak from experience. Those who knew her called her Mrs. Clean. But I was the beneficiary of her inordinate desire for cleanliness. Everything about my place looks brand new thanks to her. There's room for all of us in this world.

Thank you for the kind words.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, mysterylady. That makes two of us. I love Audrey's comments, too.

Thank you for enjoying the cartoons, too, especially the cow. I may have to do another interview with her.

I know what you mean about catching a cold from students when school began and nursing it for the entire school year. I laughed out loud at your description of those pupils as giant germs and viruses. I had this mental picture of them looking like the green virus in the first cartoon, only much more menacing and mean!

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

My dear DRBJ, I did say sewage TREATMENT plant -- not an open sewer. My point being, a healthy human body has wonderful defenses against germs, and perhaps we worry too much about that. Radiation -- a different story altogether. We are not designed to ward off that. Lynda

fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

A very interesting Hub. It is important to protect ourselves from germs, but they also serves to strengthen the immune system. The attention should not become obsession!

sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

I have a daughter with a suppressed immune system due to getting a lovely new kidney... so I'm a COMPLETE germophobe! I'd like to add to your list of "germy areas we don't often consider".... The all you can eat buffets. Oddly enough, the germs to worry about aren't the coughing and sneezing of other people, but rather the fact that like a bazillion people have wiped their nose, and grabbed the serving spoon or fork, or shovel!

Always sanitize your hands AFTER you get back to the table with your truck load of food.

I love, love, LOVED this. It is such a rare time I have the pleasure to read someone who's as aware of the lingering mean-ol germs as I!

Oh, and of course, even though she gives you trouble, she's alright with me. Tell Ms. Bossie, I, for one, am happy she made you add the bovines. :)

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I've got mixed feelings about becoming a complete germophobic, but you've got some really smart advice here. That tip about the soap dispenser is priceless. We both much be itching, because I've been working on a germy hub myself. I'll be sure to link to this one. Rated up doc.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

A very good and timely hub with all these environmental pollution around. Thank you.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, Lynda. Radiation is a much different problem and so far, there are no easy answers for that issue.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to meet you, fucsia. Thank you for finding this hub 'interesting.' I do agree with you that some exposure to germs is inevitable and even desirable to strengthen our immune systems.

Although in some cases, 'obsession' is a necessity.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, sue. In some cases, we must become utter and complete germophobes for survival. Thank you for mentioning those lovely all you can eat buffet restaurants.

To avoid those germ-laden serving utensils like those in the salad bar, the smartest thing to do is use your own fork to serve yourself.

And sanitizing your hands when you return to your table is the smart thing to do. You mentioned returning with a truck load of food. Would that be an SV-load or a van-load. In my area, the truck load is more of the one ton size. But that's another hub.

I'm delighted you loved this germ-laden treatise but I'm not going to give Bossy any feedback - she already has a mammoth ego.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Don't get me wrong, Hillary, I don't advocate becoming a complete germophobe. But simply using our smarts to avoid germy situations when possible.

I always took such pains to use the soap dispenser in public restrooms until I learned how contaminated they were. Now lots of hot water is the answer.

Please let me know when you publish your 'germy' epic and I will be sure to link to it. And thanks for the up!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hello, Hanna, thanks for visiting and your kind comments. Yes, there has always been environmental pollution around as you point out and sometimes it seems we are being overwhelmed with those kinds of problems. That's why finding strategies to deal with germs and bacteria is so important.

mojefballa profile image

mojefballa 5 years ago from Nigeria

Yeah,thanks for a job and teaching well done and properly researched.

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

A space suit would come in handy. I've had a shocking virus for five weeks with a one hundred day cough to accompany it. So have a shower and a full medical after reading these comments, as my space suit hasn't arrived yet.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Welcome, mojefballa, so nice to meet you. Thanks for the gracious comments but there's no need for thanks. It's entirely my pleasure.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Oh, poor Keith, I'm so sorry you are suffering with a nasty virus and incessant coughing. Are you at least getting suitable familial attention for your pathetic state of health? Do hope so. Tea with honey may alleviate the coughing. That's honey from bees, that is. :) Best wishes for getting rid of your virus. Give it to someone else. Always works for me. Heh, heh.

Leighsue profile image

Leighsue 5 years ago

A very timely hub. I try to be careful of germs, however some threats have never occurred to me.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Me, too, Leighsue. That's why I wrote this hub - to share these thoughts of common places where germs lurk that we might not think about. Nice to meet you here. Did you wash your hands? In hot water?

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Oh my, now that you've drawn my attention to all those lurking germs I'm not leaving the house now without a face mask and rubber gloves.(((cringing at the public soap dispenser)))

Just kidding..I wouldn't go to get that paranoid. I am a big believer in hand-washing though; my mother drilled that in to me.

Great germ detective work drbj!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

I'm thinking of doing a hub featuring the latest styles in Hazmat suits for those who want to be COMPLETELY germ free. Whaddya think, Jane, any merit to that?

Your mother is a smart lady - hand washing in hot water has always been important to keep those brawling bacteria at bay. Thanks for appreciating my germy research.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

Thank you for the most appreciated tips on avoiding germs and how to protect yourself from germs.

I must admit I'm a germ a phobe I may not be the extremest and yet I'm a person who is obsessed with cleanliness and defeating bacteria.

I turn on faucets with my elbows. I carry wipes around with me to use for opening doors which I promptly throw away. Most often I kick doors open with my feet and hold them for the kids...

If towels are available to dry after I wash my hands I generally use the paper towel to open the door when leaving throwing it away in the nearest waste can after. Public restrooms are a nightmare for me.

I constantly teach my kids how to move around the mall, restaurants and the world in general without touching things.... Oh my now I must go wash my hands, clean my key board and well...

Great read and I love what you've done with your profile. It fantastic! :) Katie

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Katie, m'luv, in today's world being a germophobe is not a negative thing to me. I don't see myself either as being obsessive about germs, bacteria and others of their ilk, but I do believe in taking precautions.

Using sanitizers, wipes and paper towels to open public door knobs and such is the smart thing to do. I commend you.

Thanks for appreciating my tips and also for moticing my new profile. I kinda like it, too.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

So true, you know society in general has gotten plain ole lazy and nasty giving to little thought and consideration to cleaning up behind themselves, where's the respect and dignity for basic human cleanliness?

I remember my Grandfather always cleaning out and drying the sink leaving it spotless when ever he washed his hands. When he walked away from the sink it sparkled. He always said, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right" Gotta love Granddad :)

Cleanliness is a good thing indeed! :) Katie

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

katie - Isn't there a saying about cleanliness being next to godliness? Guess neither one is that important anymore for some folks.

BTW - Your Granddad was a very smart feller!

izettl profile image

izettl 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

useful and funny!I'm just laughing at myself too because I am a germ freak- everyone who knows me would use this term to describe me. I've always liked being clean in body and dirty in mind- lol.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Laura, delighted you found this both useful and funny. But I would never describe you as a germ freak. Just someone who is averse to dirt and germs. And loves 'offbeat' stuff - just like me!

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

Hi, drbj! It´s a great Hub. I´m one of those people who bring paper handtowel with them due to the many germs located everywhere. Handwashing is very much advisable.

An advice I can give you: When you go to a massage studio or a spa, ask if they have change the towels they are going to use for you. They might say yes, but you can find it out through smelling and carefully looking at it. The germs are also hiding in the towels...

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to meet you, Thelma. Thanks for the advice about clean towels when getting a massage. If they had an odor when I smelled them, I would probably lose my desire for the massage.

Paper towels are indispensable in today's germy world. You are clever to recognize that.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Well, you've done it again, my clean friend! A hub that is so good I got hooked into reading everyone's comments as well as your fantastic article on germs. When a person reads every single comment, that is a sign of an extra-ordinary piece of work. So glad to know about the soap dispenser. I stay away from buffets. On a trip to Las Vegas, got the sickest ever from buffet food contamination. Yuck! Here's another tip to add to your list: My family and I became a customed to removing our shoes before entering the house, while living in Hawaii. We still do that today. Can you imagine how many germs are carried on the bottom of our shoes? Plus, it really keeps carpets and such clean. I sure do love this hub and I am still rolling on the floor with laughter over the cow cartoon. Priceless - like your hubs - priceless!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Oh, Audrey, I'm delighted you got hooked into reading all the comments as well as the germy hub. I think I have the most literate and interesting commenters including yourself on HubPages.

I agree that those eat-yourself-sick for one price buffets are hotbeds of harmful germs. And I like the custom of asking guests to remove their shoes when entering your house. I make that request of my guests, too, since I recently installed new wood floors. It does cut down on dirt and detritus.

And Bossy thanks you for the 'priceless' comment about her choice of cartoons as I thank you for the 'priceless' period.

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Very useful and very funny, drbj! I've decided never to use a soap dispenser in a public washroom again after reading your information about fecal bacteria in the soap!

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Me, too, Alicia, when I learned that dismaying fact, I decided that just water alone would do the job together with the sanitizer I usually carry in my handbag.

Thanks for stopping by and the useful and funny.

And don't forget - soap dispensers in public places are a no-no!

mollymeadows profile image

mollymeadows 4 years ago from The Shire

I was a mystery shopper years ago, drbj, and usually had to evaluate restaurant restrooms as part of my shop. I'll never forget reaching out for the interior door handle of one unisex restroom and having it come away totally wet. I still haven't recovered. You're so right...hand sanitizer keeps you clean, and may help prevent a heart attack, lol!

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

well, that last cartoon was utterly muu-nique. :-D

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I apologize, molly, for missing your comment 'til now. Mea culpa, mea culpa! Ugh, how disgusting that restroom experience was! You are on the mark, m'dear - the hand sanitizer can be your new BFF.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I dunno why, chris, but I just knew that you would find that final cartoon udderly fascinating. Me, too. Thanks for finding it.

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