5 Dirtiest Public Places We Go to Every Day
Most of us know to wash our hands frequently throughout the day after visiting the bathroom or before preparing food to ensure that we’re not spreading harmful bacteria between surfaces. However, what a lot of us don’t realise is that bacteria linger in more places than we’d expect and we should be washing our hands more frequently than we probably are when out in public. Unfortunately, many of the places that we visit every day often contain a lot of bacteria with even some particularly harmful strains that could make us ill.
As the number of Covid-19 cases decreases and lockdown is being lifted across the country, it’s more important than ever that we’re aware of how to keep ourselves protected from illness and do all we can to prevent the spread of germs. With this in mind, we’ve looked at 5 of the places you’re likely to visit each day, and what the risks to your health are.
How Do Germs Spread?
Most germs are spread through coughing, sneezing, breathing and touch. They can pass from person to person when people come into contact with surfaces containing bacteria. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that the average sneeze or cough can send around 100,000 contagious germs into the air at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. This is why it’s crucial to cover your face with your hand whilst sneezing or coughing! The lifespan of bacteria and viruses is different depending on their type. In theory, microbes can live on surfaces for hundreds of years, however most do not live nearly this long – certain well known viruses such as HIV live for just a few seconds.
The humidity of an environment also changes the likelihood of bacteria surviving. No bacteria or virus is able to survive on a dry surface with a humidity of less than 10%. Microbes thrive on any sort of nutrients-food particles such as skin cells, blood and mucus, which is why your kitchen sponge is a breeding ground for bacteria. The most important thing is to be aware of their existence and to take extra measures to keep a space as clean and hygienic as possible.
How to Prevent Germs from Spreading
Although bacteria does exist in many of the places that we visit, it’s important to remember that by practising good hygiene and regularly washing your hands, you can keep yourself well-protected from contracting any serious illnesses as a result of being exposed to these environments. The best way to prevent germs from spreading is to practice good hygiene throughout the day. This means to frequently wash your hands to prevent passing on bacteria from surfaces you’ve had contact with and also putting your hand over your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. You can even take extra precautions against bacteria by wearing gloves and a face mask whilst out and about, to prevent coming into contact with bacteria on door handles and other surfaces.
The majority of offices have cleaners who regularly wipe down all the surfaces and remove visible dirt. However, offices can quickly become a hub to a lot of bacteria, you’d be surprised how much is lurking all around your workspace each day.
2. Public Transport
Most of us have to use public transport each day to commute to work. Unfortunately, trains and buses are often tightly packed spaces during the rush hour, which is an environment that bacteria thrive in. With 2 million people on average riding the tube every day, it’s safe to say that your daily commute is one of the places you’re most at risk of coming into contact with harmful bacteria.
3. Public Bathrooms
Using public bathrooms is often unavoidable, however, it’s important that you make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitiser after using them. Surprisingly, however, there are many things you’ll come into direct contact with each day that contains far more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Visiting a restaurant is often an experience we consider to be luxurious, however, once seeing how much bacteria can be harboured in these spaces, you might reconsider! From the high chairs to the menus, unfortunately, these are environments where bacteria can spread rapidly.
Unfortunately, it’s true that the spaces where we buy our food and other essential items is a breeding ground for bacteria. Ideally, once returning home, you should thoroughly wash any fresh food you have bought and wipe down any packets, tins and packing to remove any bacteria you might have brought back with you.