No one is immune from germs or exists in a completely sanitary environment unless it is an operating room or a sterile lab where extra special precautions are taken. Bacteria and viruses surround us everywhere from a spotless home, public rest rooms, and favorite dining establishments, shopping for new clothes or shoes, visiting a makeup counter, renting bowling shoes or ice skates to jumping in a hot tub or pool. Being the case, you might wonder how safe you are in regard to preventing health risks hiding in plain view.
Before you start panicking, there are some things that you should know. A substantial number of germs are needed to actually bring on an illness. The germs also need a way into the body such as passing through an open wound, the eyes, nose or the mouth. The likelihood of experiencing illness also increases more in anyone with a compromised immune system such as diabetes, lupus among others to advanced age where fighting off germs would be harder than in other groups.
Health Risks Hiding in Plain View
Trying on new clothes in a fitting room is a potential hot spot. After all, a person that had lice or scabies might have just tried on that particular piece before you. Generally speaking, lice can survive outside of their host for twenty-four hours. Furthermore, their eggs that could embed themselves in the fabric could emerge in six to eight days, making you vulnerable even days later.
Hats are fun to model, but they too can come with hidden health risks if someone before you had head lice.
Trying on new shoes is also not without health risks. Someone recently could have tried on the same pair that had plantar warts or the fungus that causes athletes foot.
Public bathrooms can be disgusting places that you may be forced to use. You may be worried about catching the AIDS virus or a sexually transmitted disease from a toilet seat. Even though the virus can survive outside of the body for about four hours, you would need to sit in the exact spot for that virus to travel through a wound or close enough access to your front or backside opening.
Those hot air hand dryers are nothing but bacteria collectors.
Getting a professional manicure or pedicure can lift a woman’s spirit. Unfortunately, it also can present health risks if this business had sanitation practices that were not up to par.
Hot tubs and pools also can present health risks if not properly maintained that help you contract diarrhea from parasites, flu-like symptoms, rash, swimmers’ ear to bacteria deadly enough to cause Legionnaires’ disease. You also risk taking in possible e Coli bacteria that could also enter through your nose, mouth, eyes or wounds.
Eating out at a restaurant also may come with health risks, especially enjoying a salad bar or a smorgasbord where you serve yourself where many hands could have been to compromise cleanliness.
Browsing cosmetic counters and shopping for makeup is fun. However, I do not understand why so many people sample makeup testers, especially on their lips and eyes that are so vulnerable to infection. Think of all the hundreds of others that could have tried on that same tube of lipstick or mascara and all the transmitted bacteria that through time has festered and become a prime breeding ground for a staph or strep infection, conjunctivitis, or herpes.
How to Limit Those Specific Health Risks
To limit your health risks when buying new clothing, it always is a good idea to launder all new clothes before wearing them. Aim to wash new clothing as soon as possible. This way you lessen chances of anything hatching that might have been attached to the item.
Dry clean or launder hats soon as possible as well is another wise course of action to narrow down any health risks.
Getting a shower, bath and shampooing your hair after trying on new clothes soon after you get home is also another preventative measure that can help reduce the likelihood of mites from scabies that could lodge beneath your skin. Bathing also helps cut down risk of any body or head lice that you may have picked up if the items you tried on were worn recently by someone that was infected.
In regard to limiting health risks when trying on new shoes, it helps wearing thicker protection like a sock or peds instead of trusting a thin nylon stocking, where those germs could be still lurking in the moisture of the shoes interior.
Another way to help lessen any shoe related health risks is by spraying the shoes interior with a disinfectant spray before wearing a new pair. Spray a small amount inside the shoe first to test if it will discolor. If the color stays intact, then spray more thoroughly can provide additional protection from any lucking germs.
When trying to limit public bathroom health risks, it helps using a seat protector or layers of toilet paper if you must sit or squatting. Flush toilet handles with plenty of toilet paper for cover or use your feet.
The best way to avoid coming home with disease causing bathroom bacteria from a hot air hand dryer is to wash your hands and then shake them dry if this is your only option.
To limit your health risks of a professional manicure or pedicure that might cause you to lose your nails and develop an infection, read my earlier post on what you need to look for before agreeing to have your nails done.
To avoid hot tubs and pool health risks, you need to make sure the water that you’re about to enter has been properly treated with adequate amounts of chlorine. It is always a good idea to stay out of the water if you have any open wounds as well. You also should try not to swallow any water, inhale the water or open your eyes when under water where any waiting bacteria could find its way into your body.
What you should look for when visiting a restaurant is what sort of health code rating the established posted. This is your first clue to cleanliness. Look also at the tables, serving staff and condition of their rest rooms for additional signs.
If you enjoy a salad bar or going to a smorgasbord make sure there is a glass or plastic shield hanging high enough near nose level to safeguard the food from sneezing. The greens and fixings should appear fresh, not wilted or discolored. Furthermore, the serving trays should not have any crusted edges or remaining food sticking to it. Also, inspect the plates, salad bowls and utensils for any stuck on food remnants also can help limit health risks.
Before you pick up your plate or soup bowl, I suggest watch others before making your trip to fill up. Sometimes, children or even adults scratch their nose and then handle the same serving spoon that you could want to use. They could also drop something on the floor, pick it up and head to finish serving themselves. If this is the case, report the issue to the staff so they can clean and replace what was wrongly handled can save you from possible infection.
When shopping at the makeup counters, make it a point not to sample any eye or lip products on your face to avoid health risks. Instead, you always have the back of your hand to test it on where the skin is thicker and more able to protect against this threat. However, you need to watch for any broken skin in the area before swiping makeup there.
Being prepared with some advance knowledge matters of any health risks that may be lurking never hurts if you intend to safe stay from preventing illness.