| Hygiene + Health: 8 Germiest Public Places!

8 Germiest Public Places ~ Editors of Prevention, ABC News.

Prepare to be grossed out.

An average adult can touch as many as 30 objects within a minute, including germ-harboring, high-traffic surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, phone receivers, and remote controls. At home, you do all that you can to keep the germs at bay. But what happens when you step out the door to go to dinner, do some grocery shopping, or visit the doctor’s office? It’s not pretty.

Here’s where germs are most likely to lurk—and how you can limit your exposure.

Restaurant Menus

Have you ever seen anyone wash off a menu? Probably not. A study in the Journal of Medical Virology reported that cold and flu viruses can survive for 18 hours on hard surfaces. If it’s a popular restaurant, hundreds of people could be handling the menus—and passing their germs on to you.

Never let a menu touch your plate or silverware, and wash your hands after you place your order.

Lemon wedges

According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health, nearly 70 percent of the lemon wedges perched on the rims of restaurant glasses contain disease-causing microbes. When the researchers ordered drinks at 21 different restaurants, they found 25 different microorganisms lingering on the 76 lemons that they secured, including E. coli and other fecal bacteria.

Tell your server that you’d prefer your beverage sans fruit. Why risk it? (You might want to skip the diet soda while you’re at it; learn about seven gross side effects of diet soda.)

Condiment Dispensers

It’s the rare eatery that regularly bleaches its condiment containers. And the reality is that many people don’t wash their hands before eating, says Kelly Reynolds, PhD. So while you may be diligent, the guy who poured the ketchup before you may not have been, which means his germs are now on your fries.

Squirt hand sanitizer on the outside of the condiment bottle or use a disinfectant wipe before you grab it. Holding the bottle with a napkin won’t help; napkins are porous, so microorganisms can pass right through, Reynolds says.

Restroom Door Handles

Don’t think you can escape the restroom without touching the door handle? Palm a spare paper towel after you wash up and use it to grasp the handle. Yes, other patrons may think you’re a germ-phobe—but you’ll never see them again, and you’re the one who won’t get sick.

Soap Dispensers

About 25 percent of public restroom dispensers are contaminated with fecal bacteria. Soap that harbors bacteria may seem ironic, but that’s exactly what a recent study found.

“Most of these containers are never cleaned, so bacteria grow as the soap scum builds up,” says Charles Gerba, PhD. “And the bottoms are touched by dirty hands, so there’s a continuous culture feeding millions of bacteria.”

Be sure to scrub hands thoroughly with plenty of hot water for 15 to 20 seconds—and if you happen to have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, use that, too. (Prefer a more natural route? Check out this DIY natural, effective hand sanitizer.)

Grocery Carts

The handles of almost two-thirds of the shopping carts tested in a 2007 study at the University of Arizona were contaminated with fecal bacteria. In fact, the bacterial counts of the carts exceeded those of the average public restroom.

Swab the handle with a disinfectant wipe before grabbing hold (stores are starting to provide them, so look around for a dispenser). And while you’re wheeling around the supermarket, skip the free food samples, which are nothing more than communal hand-to-germ-to-mouth zones.

10 Germ Hot Spots At Home

Airplane Bathrooms

When Gerba tested for microbes in the bathrooms of commercial jets, he found surfaces from faucets to doorknobs to be contaminated with E. coli. It’s not surprising, then, that you’re 100 times more likely to catch a cold when you’re airborne, according to a recent study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research.

To protect yourself, try taking green tea supplements. In a 2007 study from the University of Florida, people who took a 450-milligram green tea supplement twice a day for 3 months had one-third fewer days of cold symptoms. (See what other supplements you need with the 100 Best Supplements For Women).

Doctor’s office

A doctor’s office is not the place to be if you’re trying to avoid germs. These tips can help limit your exposure.

1. Take your own books and magazines (and kid’s toys, if you have your children or grandchildren with you).

2. Pack your own tissues and hand sanitizers, which should be at least 60% alcohol content.

3. In the waiting room, leave at least two chairs between you and the other patients to reduce your chances of picking up their bugs. Germ droplets from coughing and sneezing can travel about 3 feet before falling to the floor.

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commonsenseAAA

 

| Zionising travel: New TSA scanners will be able to read EVERY molecule in your body!

New TSA scanners will be able to read EVERY molecule in your body and tell what you had for breakfast ~ DAILY MAIL REPORTER, MailOnline.

Security staff at airports can already force us to go through metal detectors and use X-rays to see under our clothes.

But a new technology being developed on behalf of the U.S. government goes even further – soon officials will be able to scan every single molecule in our bodies.

And travellers might not even know that they are being watched, as the device can be operated from a distance of 50 metres.

Portable: The front (left) and back (right) views of the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner show how small the device is which means that it could be used in a wide range of circumstances
Portable: The front (left) and back (right) views of the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner show how small the device is which means that it could be used in a wide range of circumstances

Portable: The front (left) and back (right) views of the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner show how small the device is which means that it could be used in a wide range of circumstances

It is reasonable to assume that the Department of Homeland Security is primarily intending to use the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanners in airports, where security is usually at its highest.

But the device is small and light enough to be easily portable, and could be installed in any building or even on the street.

The invention, while technologically exciting, raises the sinister spectre of government, businesses and individuals having the ability to monitor everyone constantly.

As well as national security, the device could be used to everyday law enforcement – for example, it can detect even the tiniest quantity of drugs, such as the trace amounts of cocaine found on many banknotes.

Cutting the queues: The laser scanners will be ten million faster than existing security scanning technology, which would presumably shorten lines at airports but also cause privacy issuesCutting the queues: The laser scanners will be ten million faster than existing security scanning technology, which would presumably shorten lines at airports but also cause privacy issues

 

An unidentified undersecretary at Homeland Security has predicted that the technology will be used within the next one to two years.

Though the process of detecting chemicals on individuals is not new, the significant speed and unmatched accuracy of these scanners makes them stand out against the rest of the market.

The new scanners are said to be ten million times faster and one million times more sensitive than the scanners used in airports and border patrols currently.

No body scanner required: The laser will have similar if not stronger capabilities to that of a body scanner but could be used from up to 50 meters awayNo body scanner required: The laser will have similar if not stronger capabilities to that of a body scanner but could be used from up to 50 meters away

 

Gizmodo reports that the government subcontracted technology company In-Q-Tel to play the middleman between them and Genia Photonics, the company that has acquired 30 patents relating to the molecular-level scanners.

The company says that the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner can ‘penetrate clothing and many other organic materials and offers spectroscopic information, especially for materials that impact safety such as explosives and pharmacological substances.’

The scanner works by using lasers to evaluate the presence of any chemical traces on people or packages, and then that information is synched up to a computer attached to the small machine.

The process of scanning and downloading the information takes only picoseconds- so one-trillionth of a second- which means that security workers would be alerted to any alarming substances as you were approaching them.

The implications for this machine are both obvious and widespread, as it will easily lend speed and accuracy to the system, as well as an added element of nonprejudice.

Because it takes such a short amount of time to use the laser technology and interpret the data, security officials will not have to discriminate among suspicious passengers and will have time to use the technology on everyone.

The issue there, however, is that passengers will undoubtedly be upset that they are being searching without their knowledge and without any notification.

The size and portability of the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner means that in addition to airports and border points – which are expected to be the main areas of use – there is the possibility that the scanners may be put in police cars and subway stations.

The unattributed Gizmodo report, which is said to be written by a PhD student studying renewable energy solutions who chose to remain anonymous, highlights the fact that many of the unanswered questions relating to the government’s prospective implementation of the scanners and the privacy issues at hand have yet to be answered.

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