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Spotlight On: Germs In Public Places

Updated on August 21, 2014

by Rachael O'Halloran

Published on August 21, 2014

You can't see germs, but ....

if you smell bad odors, you can bet germs are there too
if you smell bad odors, you can bet germs are there too | Source
http://noveltyconcept.com/
http://noveltyconcept.com/

Always flush the toilet with the lid down.

Every time you flush the toilet, the spray from the flush water can shoot up as much as six (6) feet into the air around you.

If you use one of those over the rim toilet fresheners or any type of bleach product in the water to keep the bowl clean, you are breathing that in too.

Put the lid down and you have eliminated a good portion of the millions of germs you breathe in every day.

It should be written into everyone's marriage (or co-habitation) vows!

http://eternallyhopeful.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/toilet-seats/
http://eternallyhopeful.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/toilet-seats/

Lysol Wipes

Keep one in bath, kitchen, office, and car
Keep one in bath, kitchen, office, and car | Source

Your cellphone is ten times more germier than your toilet.

Get in the habit of disinfecting your phones (cell and land lines) by wiping them off a couple of times per week.

Use a Lysol (or any brand) handi-wipe, an antibacterial wipe, or a dampened paper towel with half water and half bleach to disinfect the phone.

Wipe off your remote controls several times per week.

Germs can live on surfaces for days.

If you have multiple people in your home handling the remote controls, it only takes one person to be sick with a cough, cold, sinus infection, etc. or if they don’t wash their hands when leaving the bathroom, to spread germs to anyone who handles the remotes.

Hand Sanitizer

Keep these handy in car and purse
Keep these handy in car and purse | Source
Use especially after pumping gas or when eating fast food in the car
Use especially after pumping gas or when eating fast food in the car | Source

Don’t think you are immune to germs because you are always in good health.

You are most likely immune to many of the familiar germs in your daily life, but each new store or building you enter to run an errand is a new environment. Your body doesn’t have time to build up immunity to the new germs you are being exposed to for the amount of time it takes to get done your errand.

Carry small bottles of antibacterial sanitizer or wipes with you (in car, purse, etc.) so you can cleanse your hands as you go from store to store, and whenever you leave a restaurant or a gas station. There are some good remedies in the Amazon ads in the sidebar of this article...as low as one cent.

Everyone should keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car anyway, especially if your family goes on long trips.

You should have access to the wipes before you touch a cart, not after

The wipes should be prominently displayed NEAR the carts. They are not much good to you after you entered the shopping area of the store pushing your cart. Your hands are already germy.
The wipes should be prominently displayed NEAR the carts. They are not much good to you after you entered the shopping area of the store pushing your cart. Your hands are already germy. | Source

Have you noticed the containers of antibacterial wipes at the door of Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and other big name stores?

They are there for you to wipe off the shopping cart handles, basket and cart rims before using the cart, especially if you put your child or your purse in the top seat.

You don’t know who handled the cart before you or what germs they might be leaving behind because of the manner in which they used the cart.

Go out of your way to "locate" the wipes before you even touch a cart.

My Walmart had them so far behind the lined up carts, you couldn't get to them. One little chat with the store manager took care of that problem.

The pictures I found while researching this article were enough to make me want to start a petition to require stores to sanitize their carts daily.

I could do a whole article just on germy shopping carts, but instead I'll just leave you with a few pictures.

You can pick up a strain of e-coli from almost any place.

Doing your part to protect yourself is the only defense
Doing your part to protect yourself is the only defense | Source

Yes, they even do that in shopping carts

The thought of this is very scary. You might say "She put a blanket down."  But, What are her hands going to touch when she is done this activity?  It's what you don't know ...
The thought of this is very scary. You might say "She put a blanket down." But, What are her hands going to touch when she is done this activity? It's what you don't know ... | Source

How do you know where your cart has been?

Did your cart come in from the neighborhood cart roundup? How about after it has been in their parking lot through a lot of weather? Who cleans these carts?
Did your cart come in from the neighborhood cart roundup? How about after it has been in their parking lot through a lot of weather? Who cleans these carts? | Source
Just think the next time your cart looks grimy, when it was returned to the store, did they take the proper precautions to clean it?
Just think the next time your cart looks grimy, when it was returned to the store, did they take the proper precautions to clean it? | Source

To the public, these are not "Happy Feet"

dirt and germ transfer
dirt and germ transfer | Source

Germ transfer - not just to the cart but how about to the shoes he might be trying on.

Just think, if this kid's mother brought him to the store to try shoes on him - with no socks and dirty feet - the transfer of germs from his feet to any shoe he tries on is too yucky to even think about.

It's bad enough he is sitting with filthy feet in the basket part of this cart (which he is obviously too big for in the first place), you can only imagine the germ transfer from his hands and clothes.

Who washes the cart after pets used them?

Source

Animals in shopping carts

While "service dogs" are permitted in most stores, this may or may not be a service dog. But I'll bet you that this Bed Bath & Beyond cart will probably not undergo any type of cleaning between the time it is deposited back in the cart corral when this shopper is finished shopping and the time the next person comes into the store to use it.

Think about all the "service animals" who are brought into supermarkets, and stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart, etc. And what about PetSmart where they are welcomed with open arms? Do you think those carts are cleaned before the next customer takes a cart from the cart corral?

Cheaper version of shopping cart handle cover

Shopping Cart Handle Cover

Would you let your baby put his mouth here?

How many times have you told your child not to do that?
How many times have you told your child not to do that? | Source

Babies will be babies

Many babies put their mouths on the cart handle. Just think of the germs present on this cart handle and the possible e-coli that this baby could be getting in his mouth.

If you at least wipe the cart off, your child will pick up considerably less germs.

A lot of parents are opting for shopping cart covers like this one

A good option, but then it has to be laundered each time to keep the germs from spreading with each use.
A good option, but then it has to be laundered each time to keep the germs from spreading with each use. | Source

Instead of buying expensive remedies, always ....

wipe off the cart rim, the basket area and the handles.
wipe off the cart rim, the basket area and the handles. | Source

E-coli

E-coli can only be diagnosed with a laboratory test
E-coli can only be diagnosed with a laboratory test | Source

Always launder your underwear separately from your other clothes.

Your underwear can hold on to E-coli germs which gets on your hands when you transfer wet clothes to the dryer.

If you wash your underwear in a separate load in at least 175 degree hot water, and use bleach on your whites, you can significantly cut your exposure to E-coli.

"Up to" two minutes

MOISTEN sponge, then nuke it for one to two minutes. I only do it for 30 to 45 seconds because my microwave starts making noise and I get nervous, so do what is best for your microwave model.
MOISTEN sponge, then nuke it for one to two minutes. I only do it for 30 to 45 seconds because my microwave starts making noise and I get nervous, so do what is best for your microwave model. | Source

Microwave your kitchen sponge every day.

Your kitchen sink has more germs than your bathroom, about 500,000 bacteria per square inch in just the kitchen sink and drain.

Your faucets, garbage disposal, sink basin and sponge are also full of bacteria. Bleach your sink every day with a spray bottle of 1 part bleach to 2 parts water. Sanitize your garbage disposal once a week with an over the counter garbage disposal cleanser.

Nuke your moistened sponge every day for up to two minutes or run it through your dishwasher to keep the sponge germ free.

Change your kitchen towel and washcloth every day so you aren’t transferring germs from one day to the next and from one surface to another with its use.

Never allow children to wipe their mouths, faces and hands on your kitchen towel or washcloth. Not only does your kitchen towel and washcloth have germs (like e-coli from wiping up raw meat and chicken juices, food debris and milk spills), your kids can also be carrying many germs with them that they have picked up during the course of their day.

By wiping mouths and hands on your towel or washcloth, they will depositing the germs back on them, as well as transferring them to the rest of your house. You will spread those germs around your kitchen with continued use of towel and washcloth.

Give children moistened paper towel to wipe their face and hands.

Sing Happy Birthday at normal pace. When you are done singing, you're clean!

The proper way is to perform 30 seconds of vigorous friction-causing hand washing.
The proper way is to perform 30 seconds of vigorous friction-causing hand washing.

When you are washing your hands, sing the song “Happy Birthday To You” slowly all the way through.

It should take you almost 30 seconds to get through the song. If you get done singing before 30 seconds, sing it again.

To adequately wash your hands, use warm water and an antibacterial soap to rub hands vigorously, causing friction to make a decent amount of suds. Rinse in warm water. Use paper towel to dry hands, then use the paper towel to turn off faucets.

How To Wash Your Hands

Believe it or not, in nursing school, they spent two full days on this lesson!
Believe it or not, in nursing school, they spent two full days on this lesson! | Source

Public Fountains (mold)

Public water fountains are rarely cleaned and are very germy
Public water fountains are rarely cleaned and are very germy | Source

Pet Fountains

Some parks have pet designated fountains
Some parks have pet designated fountains | Source

Never use public water fountains. Carry your own bottled water.

Drinking fountains are germy with anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch and that’s just on the spigot.

The button to turn it on is touched by people whose hands are dirtier than their mouths. Some people say a dog's mouth is pretty clean, but think about whether you'd want to drink from a water fountain right after the dog did.

Carrying a supply of bottled water for man and beast is best.

He thinks this is funny, but a mother wouldn't look at it that way

This might have been a cute "photo-op" at the time, even if he did bring hisown bottle of water (see top center of fountain), but many people take advantage of these types of drinking fountains in parks.They grab a fast sip of water when they are on
This might have been a cute "photo-op" at the time, even if he did bring hisown bottle of water (see top center of fountain), but many people take advantage of these types of drinking fountains in parks.They grab a fast sip of water when they are on | Source

Always carry bottled water so you don't have to use public water fountains

If you must drink from a public fountain, holding your mouth well away from the spigot may help cut down germ exposure.
If you must drink from a public fountain, holding your mouth well away from the spigot may help cut down germ exposure. | Source

Use a clean towel for each day.

Never put wet or damp towels in hamper. It creates a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
Never put wet or damp towels in hamper. It creates a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. | Source

Bathroom floor

Source

Change your bath towels and washcloth every day, your bedsheets every week and clean your bathroom at least twice a week.

If you use a body wash sponge, toss the moistened sponge in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds every week. At the end of the month throw it out, then put out a clean one. If you do it on the last day of every month, you won’t forget to change the sponge.

By using a clean towel and wash cloth every day, you cut down the risk of staphylococcus bacteria, which causes skin and sinus infections. Don't put wet towels or washcloths in the hamper - it creates the perfect environment for germs.

Your bed sheets are a breeding ground for mites and bedbugs, so change them every week.

Put your bedspread or blanket out on the clothesline to air once a week or toss in the dryer on low heat with a fabric softener sheet for 10 minutes (make sure you use low heat setting, not air fluff which has no heat).

Always take a shower before getting into bed (especially a freshly changed bed) so you are not bringing the day’s germs to your sleeping environment.

To clean your sink, tub/shower, toilet and floor, use a disinfectant type cleaner and really make sure you pay special attention to the faucets and vanity surfaces (including mirrors, toothbrush holders and cup holders).

If you use plastic dixie cups to rinse after brushing your teeth, it is easy to think it's a waste of money to throw them away after one use. Many people use them a full week before tossing them in trash. Try not to go more than two days of use, then discard.

Most people forget to wash the bathroom floor when they clean the bathroom and there are just as many germs on the floor as there are in the toilet. Use half bleach and half hot water, rinse in warm water so the floor is not sticky when you walk on it with rubber soles or bare feet.

Antibacterial bathmats

launder once a month
launder once a month | Source

Bathmats

Use a bath mat whenever you step out of the shower or bathtub and always put out a clean one mid-week.

If you use one of those antibacterial bathmats, wash it in warm soapy water once a month. Rinse twice - once in warm water, then rinse in cold water which cuts down the suds and gets the rest of the soap out. You can also run it through the rinse cycle of your washer, then toss it in the dryer for 10 minutes. Allow mat to air dry in the sun until completely dry.

Shower curtain liner

Source

Clean your shower curtain liner (or shower doors) weekly

First put on a paper mouth mask - the kind that covers your nose and mouth, and has elastic that hooks over your ears. Use your shower sprayer and wet your shower door or curtain down with warm water only.

Stand in the tub (or shower) and spray the inside of your shower curtain with Windex. Totally saturate it. Step out. Now, let it stand for two full minutes.

Then take your shower sprayer and rinse with hot water for at least two minutes, making sure you rinse well between the folds. This will clean your shower curtain or door and also the floor of your shower.

Wash your shower curtain every six months and always change the liner at the same time. I change mine on 4th of July weekend and New Years Eve weekend, so I remember to do it.


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© Rachael O'Halloran August 21, 2014

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

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  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    ologsinquito, I also wish more attention had been given to germs in grocery carts years ago. Thanks for revisiting my article. :)

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    I try not to worry too much about germs, but I like those padded grocery cart covers for babies. I wish I had known about these when my children were little.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    Hi Nell, Better to be like Sheldon than not! I agree with you, always wash when you come indoors. Thanks for reading.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

    Oh my God, changing a baby's nappy in a food cart? what the hell is wrong with that stupid incompetant woman? I would make her clean all of the carts so she learns her lesson!

    I am a Sheldon! if you watch the big bang theory you will know what I mean! lol! I disinfect everything! I use hand wash, wipes, and will not touch anything that looks a bit dodgy! the second I get indoors I scrub my hands and yes do the happy birthday thing! your advice is spot on! nice one!

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #ologsinquito

    I have never used diluted oils. I tend to stay with mainstream disinfectants that are convenient to use and carry. I have sanitizing wipes in every bathroom, the cars, purses, and use them at every store I enter. With germs everywhere, we need to watch out for ourselves now more than ever with viruses and just "people filth" everywhere. It comforts me to know I have easy access to my purse size hand sanitizer at all times.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Germs are all around, but I like using diluted essential oils, which have very strong antiviral and antibacterial properties as disinfectants. Nice article on germs.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #tirelesstraveler,

    You are a brave soul. I need civilization at all times. lol Yes, the hand sanitizer can be horrible on the skin, but also hard on germs so that it gets rid of them. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • tirelesstraveler profile image

    Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

    Very interesting. After 3 weeks in the Alaskan Bush I highly recommend hand sanitizer with alcohol. It wrecks your hands, but it gets them clean

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #MsDora, That's a great compliment and I thank you so much.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

    Rachael, your article reads like a comprehensive guide such as can be put into a leaflet form. Thanks for the details on avoiding germ transfer from public sources. Great article!

  • travmaj profile image

    travmaj 3 years ago from australia

    Thank Rachael, I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. - Yes I have an inflatable pillow at the ready and I'll be aware - I'm always happy to have the flight over and done with. Thank you again - Maj

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #vkwok,

    Ugly, isn't it? lol Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • vkwok profile image

    Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

    You open my eyes to just how germ-infested the world really is. Thanks, Rachael, for spreading the word!

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #travmaj

    Read bravewarrior's comment as her remedy is a substitute for bleach for those with septic systems.

    I used to throw away the kitchen sponges because they were so cheap - 6 for $2.00 or something like that. Now, they are more expensive and I nuke them for about a minute because my microwave threatens to blow them up. As soon as the sponge starts to noticeably shrink, I turn off the microwave.

    Airplanes are sanitized to a certain extent after each trip, so taking universal precautions for yourself and your immediate "space" is the best you can do. One can get paranoid about the air and a/c pumped into airplanes to the point of carrying their own Oxygen tanks - many do it under the pretense of medically needing it for COPD or other respiratory ailments. I was surprised to read about that. I hope I never get to that point with my OCD and if I do, then I stay home. lol

    The airplane pillows are disposable now, and supposed to be trashed after each trip. However, I can't vouch for that because I've seen them piled up in the back of the plane when exiting and often wondered if they were sanitized for reuse as well. Anyway, they are uncomfortable as can be, usually with paper/cloth combination covering and not worth the material they are made of.

    Invest in one of those dollar store "blow up neck pillow" and "back pillow support", and assuming that you or a companion have the air to blow it up, use that on your plane and public transportation rides. Don't bother trying to clean them unless they are plastic and if you think you can get another use out of them.

    The $1.00 suede covered ones don't clean up very well with water and leave water stains, so if you spray them with Lysol and let them air, you might get another use or two out of them, but since they are only a buck, I throw them out.

    The seat handles can do with a handi-wipe once over from a package you can keep in your purse or carry on luggage. I hope that has helped put some of your airplane traveling fears to rest. Have a great flight and take notes for us, let us know what you observe on the plane about how they deal with germs in your area of the world. The USA has strong guidelines but I don't know about other countries, so that will be interesting if you care to write on it. Thanks again for your comment.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Arachnea

    Isn't it amazing the things we now do for ourselves that we don't give a second thought to doing? We are on auto-pilot toward protecting ourselves and immediate environment of germs, whereas before the awareness, we were on auto-pilot not giving a thought to germs or catching anything from public places or surfaces. Your comment contributes well to this article along with the others and thank you for that. Just dunk your keys every once in a while in an antibacterial solution of your choice because keys get around better than you think - your purse, your hands (before, during and after other activities), your car, your car dashboard and other car plateaus, not to mention - "here, son, go open the door for me so I can bring in the first load of groceries." Kids are probably the germiest part of our world because they go everywhere and touch everything. Other people touch our keys, sometimes without us even knowing it or being aware we gave the keys to them for a task. Thank you for your comment.

  • Arachnea profile image

    Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

    Excellent hub. I'm a fan of the wipees for the shopping carts campaign. When I moved here, I rarely got sick, then I started getting the ich (flue, cold and allergies all in one). Miserable time. In a biology class I learned abt the most common transfer points for germs: door knobs and writing utensils. Now I carry extra pens in my purse and give them away when folks want to borry one. I don't accept them back. Since I wear long sleeves year round and the hemlines of my shirts are longer than is common, I use either the hem or sleeve of my shirt between the knob and my hand. In a pinch, my keys in my palm, between my hand and the knob works just as well. I haven't wrapped my mind around the sanitizer thing yet, but am working in that direction. I wash with antibac soap frequently, however.

  • travmaj profile image

    travmaj 3 years ago from australia

    Rachael, this is so informative and so many valid points. I concur with all you say. Just thought though I should microwave my kitchen sponges, I can't use bleach as we're on a septic system.

    Oh dear, I'm going on a long haul flight soon and that's a real germy worry. The blankets and pillows are not necessarily sterilised, well not on some airlines. And who was sitting in this seat before - and in what condition, it is a worry although I try not to. Thanks for such a well documented hub.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Jackie Lynnley

    Changing the baby where people are eating is gross and I am in favor of anyone getting evicted from a public place for doing so. Can you imagine eating your meal and smelling urine or BM because she was changing baby in close proximity to your table? Nope, she'd be gone!

    I don't worry so much about my germs as I do about getting e-coli, MRSA or staph from other people's germs. lol

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I am really terrible about these things and super cautious but some people! Did you hear about the woman getting kicked out of a restaurant for changing her baby inside, where people were eating! Haven't heard the details but Id much rather she was breast-feeding! I see people in parks too putting their small dogs up to drink from fountains! I want to scream; that is so horrible for the unsuspecting users isn't it? But you wouldn't catch me drinking from one anyway! lol

    It is getting pretty good in bathrooms with the liners; self flushing; automatic soap and water and towels you don't have to touch but what about the door? Use a paper towel....you may get to your food without germs...unless you have to touch the tray or cups or plates etc that who knows who touched with what germs.

    I think Sparklea has me beat though; I don't worry about my own germs so much. lol

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #AliciaC,

    Thank you for reading and for sharing my article. I appreciate that very much.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a very useful article about a very important topic. Rachael. It's full of great tips! I'll share the hub.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Sparklea

    Usually the comments are from sockpuppets - people who create an account just so they can spam the hubs with comments to promote their websites or to leave hateful comments about the hub topic. Some of my more personal hubs - disease, religion, politics, etc. - get their fair share of spam. So I moderate all comments for that reason.

    I appreciate you taking the time to read my work. Thank you.

  • Sparklea profile image

    Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

    Hi Rachael, thank you so much! So glad you received both my notes.

    Regarding your getting hateful comments? NOT from hub people I hope! I just can't imagine any hub writers would do that!

    I am on the go all the time, but want to visit your other hubs and read them. I will do it as time permits. Blessings, Sparklea

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #bravewarrior,

    Thank you, I'll check your green tips out for sure. I use baking soda in our laundry and just love it, but I never thought to use it in the shower. I use Windex because it is thorough, but I can do without the smell. So I will start using baking soda there now.

    As for septic, we are in the city part of Winter Haven so we have public sewer and water. I steered clear of septic systems when I was looking for a house both in Virginia and Florida because I just wanted the convenience of public water. Unfortunately, I am having some structural problems with the Florida house that I didn't know about when I bought it so I am getting ready to go house hunting again. I am going to stay in Polk County because it is convenient but will only look at homes with public water and sewer and only homes in gated communities. I'll write to you soon, we need to catch up. :)

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    Rachael, now that you have a home in Florida, chances are you're on septic. Other options are baking soda and fresh lemon. I use baking soda in my laundry instead of bleach and also use it to clean grout and shower tiles. Lemons disinfect. Check out the green tips I've posted. You'll find them on my profile page. Since I can't post links here, I can only lead you in that direction. My green tips are what I posted when I first came to HP. And now my blog has taken up from where I started.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #FlourishAnyway.

    I would have raised such a stink -excuse the pun - and would have had the (city, township, or county) health department on my cellphone before "cleanup in vegetable aisle" could be announced over the PA system.

    The fact that it was there long enough for your daughter to step in it, means it was there long enough for someone to report it for cleanup. If I could get away with it, I'd be billing the store for new shoes too and at the very least writing a letter to the editor of the town newspaper.

    I don't put up with a lot of stuff and in public, my husband Joe gets really bent out of shape when I make a public display of whatever I see wrong that needs correcting.

    The checkout aisle is a case in point. Whenever meat juices are on the conveyor belt and that belt has done several revolutions so that people put their groceries up on it and get wet packages, makes me absolutely crazy. That spreads to their products and they end up taking it home with them, spreads to their counters or refrigerator shelves. And how many of us reuse the grocery bags for other things. I toss the wet ones but I used to be guilty of keeping the dry ones in an empty tissue box to have handy when I needed them on the fly out the door to the gym or a meeting. They might not be the wet bags, but the products at some point came in contact with the wet conveyor belt or the other products we bagged.

    When we think we have done everything right and disinfected our environments to the point of OCD, this one little overlooked thing at the checkout belt is the one thing that can make everyone in the house sick to various degrees within 24 to 48 hours. Thank you for sharing your experience and your comment.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #bravewarrior,

    I used to use vinegar until just a few years ago. My son developed severe allergies to vinegar, pickled products and anything with brine so I switched over to bleach. I don't know hardly anything about septic systems because everywhere we ever lived had public water and sewer. So that is good to know and thank you for your comment and sharing that knowledge.

    I have a lot of reading to catch up on, so I'll be stopping by everyone's hubs between now and Sunday. Thank you.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Sparklea, your comment was here waiting for approval, so I approved both of them since one was slightly different and had important info@ doctor's offices. I never thought of the magazines, so thank you for mentioning it. I've been on vacation for 2 weeks and came back 3 days early because I'm sick. So as soon as I approved the comments from overnight, I went to the doctor's and just now got home to see the comments that were left all day. Whenever you comment on my articles, the comments have to wait for approval to show up, so rest assured that I did get them. My daughter-in-law hit approve on all the comments while I was away on vacation and all the spam she deleted. That's the reason I moderate them, the spam and hateful comments I get is unbelievable. We can only blacklist 3 people on our profiles and I need about 99 more spaces to blacklist the spammers. lol.

    Thank you for your valuable comments and votes. I appreciate it.

  • Sparklea profile image

    Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

    PS: Racheal, I also read your excellent hub on Sjogrens and commented on that awhile ago. Excellent read, and chock full of information.

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    Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

    Racheal I wrote a long comment, hit the wrong key and it totally disappeared!

    So I will try again...Voted up, awesome, useful and interesting. Your research and advice is much needed regarding this very important issue.

    I am a germ-a-phobic, and I wash my hands constantly, bathe every day, and scrub our toilet...every bit of it...faithfully. I am appalled at the public restrooms where the bottoms of the toilets are filthy, the women who have bowel movements and don't even flush...I feel like I am in Germ City. I only use a public restroom when absolutely necessary.

    I did not know about being able to microwave a sponge. Thank you for that! Your photos, examples and suggestions are spot on!

    I did read recently that the filthiest item in a hotel room is the remote control. It is so easy to disregard items like these...even in the public places where there are models of new I pads, computers...electronics touched by God knows how many people...germs everywhere!

    I never pick up a magazine in any doctor's office...I am certain they are covered with germs of sick people. My husband lovingly says, "you are having an OCD attack" when I pull out my purse wipes and clean a table in a fast food restaurant.

    I am so glad you published this terrific hub. THANK YOU SO MUCH and God bless, Sparklea :)

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    Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

    Rachaelohalloran: I am a germ-a-phobic, so this caught my eye. Voted up, awesome, useful and interesting. THANK YOU for this very important read. I ALWAYS search out shopping cart handle wipes, and if there are none available, I have disinfectant wipes in my purse which I take everywhere!

    I loathe public restrooms and use them ONLY when necessary. I have read that the most filthy item in a hotel is the remote for the television.

    We remodeled our bathroom a few years ago...we have a glass shower door and marble walls and floor. I scrub the whole toilet every day, windex the floor, stall, and thick glass window faithfully also. And of course, the sink...the one in the kitchen gets scrubbed several times daily with chlorine.

    THANK YOU for the advice regarding the sponge! I did not know microwaving the sponge disinfects it!

    A few years ago at the grocery store, a little girl was sitting in the shopping cart seat at the checkout counter, and she had her mouth on the edge of the checkout counter, rubbing it the whole length! I have also seen teens who work at county fairs stick their dirty hands in the ice at a snow cone vendor, take a handful and suck on it. I could write a book on what I have witnessed; waitresses at a restaurant using the rest room and not washing her hands...I could go on and on.

    I am hesitant to use anything that the public uses. I am so glad you have done your research and shared this very important information.

    THANK YOU! Blessings, Sparklea :)

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    FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

    My daughter and I were in a grocery store earlier this week and she actually stepped in POOP right there in the vegetable aisle. We assume it may have slid out of a baby diaper. No idea. I just about tossed my cookies. It is a gross, gross world.

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    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    Great tips Rachael. I prefer to use vinegar over bleach. I have a septic tank and bleach kills the enzymes that help the tank do it's job.

    One thing I always forget to do is wipe down the shopping cart when I go to a store. I'll have to be more mindful of that.

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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #DDE, We have little control over public places, but in our own homes, we can take many precautions, as you are doing. Even though our private facilities are inside our homes, they are actually "public" because more than one person in the home uses them. Because they are out and about in the world, they bring germs into the home and thus onto home surfaces and into the bathrooms and kitchen. The best we can do is keep our home environment as clean as we can so that the place we "live in" can be comfortable. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #lambservant, Your comment is as eye opening as my article!! Thank you so much.

    The community I live in has two public pools, two hot tubs, and one state of the art gym with showers, commode rooms, and dressing rooms. We see the pools and hot tubs being cleaned and chlorinated twice a day, and although one never sees who cleans the gym, showers and dressing rooms (must be those nighttime gym genies), the rooms are always spotless and there is nary an odor or debris around. Of course we pay high maintenance fees so it is expected to have exemplary service and cleanliness. I guess the statement "you get what you pay for" applies to public facilities. Your church facilities sound 25th century and that's so cool.

    Your experiences with the Y were pretty gross and we had something similar happen here. One day, someone brought their one year old grandson to the pool and the child had an "accident" that came out of the bathing suit into the pool, so that everyone had to exit the pool. We were told we would not be able to go back into this pool and we were hustled over to the second pool.

    Due to contamination that could lead to e-coli, hepatitis, staph, MRSA and other infections, it is a federal law (not individual states, but federal government so that states do not have a choice in the matter) that any time feces or blood (as from an injury or wound) is discovered in a public pool, it must be completely drained Re-chlorinating the pool is not enough to prevent infections. The pool surfaces must be completely disinfected and the pool must be refilled and chlorinated. When in full, treated condition, the pool must be allowed to stand for 4 hours before anyone can enter.

    We have just come home from vacation and it is remarkable how many do not follow the regulations with public pools and hot tubs. The use of hot tubs accounts for a lot of MRSA that you hear about more now on the news. Hot tubs are breeding grounds for germs because germs like warm and hot temperatures. That's why you will notice that they are more chlorinated than a regular swimming pool, plus the heat makes the chlorine odor more potent. For women ages 12 and above, they should always use Monistat or similar vaginal creams before going to the pool/hot tub and again immediately after showering so that they don't get vaginal infections. I can't tell you how many times I have picked up a vaginal infection from using a hot tub. Unless my bones and muscles are throbbing, I don't use them hardly at all.

    Thank you for your comment and sharing your experiences.

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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #billybuc, Even though I censored which photos to use, I'm sorry about the grossing out part, but the pictures were, of course, essential to the article. As mentioned in my previous comments, there are far worse things people do to (and 'in') shopping carts and water fountains, etc. Now that we are home from vacation, I have a ton of research to finish to catch up on my posting. Thank you so much for your praise and continued support.

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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Brie Hoffman, I only put in some of the pictures I found because the rest were too X-rated to publish. A quick Google with choice keywords yields much different results. lol Thanks for reading and commenting.

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    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Wow! The woman should know better than to change her babies nappy in the trolley. I clean the bathroom and toilets daily. Always clean toilet mats and try to do all that you have mentioned here daily. The washing of my hands is an absolute yes. A very helpful hub.

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    Lori Colbo 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

    Boy, I think you covered everything. The problem with flushing toilets is that few public toilets have lids. Fortunately, when you flush a public toilet you don't risk contaminating your own bathroom items. My church uses a brand new movie theater complex for its worship services. The bathroom there is phenomenal. The only thing you have to touch is the door to the stall. Everything comes out automatically and you can leave without having to touch an outer door, sink handles, toilet levers, etc.

    One of the grossest places I know of that I go to is the YMCA family dressing rooms. There is an enclosed corridor with benches lined up against the wall, some lockers, and individual rooms to dress and shower. The minute you walk into the place it reeks. When you get into the rooms there are no fans. The staff says they are there but they don't work well, thus the stench. It's important people wear shower shoes when going to public dressing rooms at gyms, pools, and health clubs. I don't like going into public pools with children. The other day at the Y there was a "floater" if you get my drift, and they had to have everyone get out of the pool and told to shower. Yes, there is chlorine, but who knows how effective it really is. I refuse to swim at the Y. I take a friend there who is disabled to help her out, but I wouldn't go in there for all the T in china. I do like that in the gym, they have disinfectant in spray bottles and towels to wash off equipment before and after you use them.

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    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    You do such a great job with these public service articles. The research is topnotch each and every time. Okay, this one grossed me out, but still important information.

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    Brie Hoffman 3 years ago from Manhattan

    Boy, I will never touch a grocery cart the same way again! Very eye opening article!