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Protection From Germs In Public Places

Women washing her hands.

Getting sick any time of the year is a possibility, but once the colder weather comes around, the chances of it happening typically increase. We don’t need to tell you how horrible it is getting sick, but the good news is that there are ways to help protect yourself from picking up germs in public places. There are obviously no guarantees, but taking preventative measures is a much better option than not doing anything at all. The following are some simple ways that you can help protect yourself from germs whenever you go out in public.

Don’t Put Your Hands Anywhere Near Your Face
It’s great that you washed your hands before dinner at a restaurant, but then you sat down at the table and started biting your nails while you were reading the menu. Think about how many other people have used that menu before you and those germs are now in your mouth. There are germs everywhere – ATMs, on money, in elevators, on condiment dispensers, on door knobs, etc – and they’re bound to get on your hands, but it’s another thing when you then put your fingers in your mouth or you rub your eyes or nose. You’re better off just not touching your face as much as possible.

Wash Your Hands and Use Hand Sanitizer
You should wash your hands for about 20-seconds with soap and water, including in between your fingers and around and under your nails, any time you use the bathroom, before and after you eat and cook, etc. When you can’t wash your hands or even after you do and you want to be extra cautious, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Don’t Open the Door Bare-handed
You washed your hands perfectly, but then you touched the restroom door handle or the doorknob to the front door of the restaurant. You may be surprised how many germs are on door handles and knobs, so if you then accidentally put your hands in your mouth or you reach for food to eat with your fingers (such as chips), it’s not going to bode well for you protecting yourself from germs. Use a napkin or tissue that you can use to open the door so you can toss it out right away.

Sit Away From People
Reportedly, sneezes can travel up to 20-feet. Gross. It’s just one of the reasons you should consider sitting away from people in public if possible, especially when you’re on public transportation, in a hospital waiting room, or in the doctor’s office.

Don’t Eat Communal Food Options
As tempting as it may be, avoid eating out of the communal bowls. This not only includes those little bowls of candy or cookies that you’ll find at the front of some restaurants, but also at parties (such as chips, etc). When you’re tempted, just think of how many may have gone to the bathroom, not washed their hands, and stuck their fingers in the bowl to grab one of the food options.

Sterilize Your Cell Phone
You’ve taken all the right precautions including washing your hands and holding the door handle with a napkin, but then you’re using a cell phone that you’ve put on a variety of germy surfaces such as on a bathroom counter. Once a day, take a quick minute to sterilize your phone.

You don’t have to worry every time you step out the door, but it is helpful to take precautions. You’ll be thankful you did if you make it through the cold and flu season (and the rest of the year) without getting sick.