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Avoid Germs On Your Summer Travels!

Avoid Germs On Your Summer Travels!

Most of us don’t want to think too much about what all we could be exposed to when we travel, especially when it comes to the super-scary contaminant king E.coli. But it’s everywhere – on transportation, at schools, and even in the sanctuary of our own (seemingly clean) home.

In truly disturbing news, two researchers recently discovered that certain pathogens – of which E.coli is one – can linger on airplane surfaces for days. Considering the number of people who could be exposed in a single day, their findings are cause for concern.

James Barbaree, associate director for research at the Auburn University Center for Detection and Food Safety in Auburn, Alabama, and his colleague Kiril Vaglenov presented their study at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. They analyzed both MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and E. coli O157:H7.

What they found was that the plane’s more porous surfaces allowed the pathogens to linger the longest. Specifically, the E. coli O157:H7 survived longest – 96 hours – on material from an airplane armrest. “The porous surfaces…are more protective for the bacteria – cloth, like the pocket cloth on the back of the seat, something like that has a lot of crevices where bacteria can get in,” Barbaree said.

And it’s not just on airplanes; it’s indoor environments, too. So if you’re renting a beach house or sharing lake lodge this summer, keep in mind what germs could be lurking, just waiting to ruin your summer fun!

“People think that the bathroom is the dirtiest place in [a] house,” says Cheryl Luptowski, a Home Safety Expert at the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF International), an independent public health and environmental organization. “…kitchen[s] [have] the most germs,” she said.

Lupotowski along with University of Arizona-Tucson Professor and Microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba revealed the 10 dirtiest spots in the average home kitchen. #1 offenders on the list? Sponges and dishcloths. According to the NSF, “more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags have some sort of coliform bacteria–a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli and is an indicator of potential fecal contamination.”

Other places most likely to be teeming with e.coli? The sink, the refrigerator meat compartment, blender gaskets, kitchen countertops, can openers, and rubber spatulas. Running items through a dishwasher, or cleaning with hot, soapy water is key. A bleach and water mixture can also be helpful, as can disinfectants designed for kitchen use.

And ladies? Careful where you set those handbags. Dr. Gerba found the unthinkable on the ubiquitous fashion staple. “We found fecal bacteria you normally find on the floor of restroom,” he said. “We found bacteria that can cause skin infections on the bottom of purses. What’s more amazing is the large numbers we find on the bottom of purses, which indicates that they can be picking up a lot of other germs like cold viruses or viruses that cause diarrhea.” When at all possible, place handbags on a hook or in an adjacent chair rather than on the floor. It’s worth nothing that leather and vinyl purses are less susceptible than ones made of cloth.

Vigilance and a little simple hand washing can go a long way in warding off E.coli-based illness. For a more thorough approach, using specially-designed air purifiers (some travel-sized!), fabric protectants, and microbial barriers can add an extra layer of protection to your home.

Our pick:

Vollara’s FreshAir Mobile is portable and perfect for cars, trucks, R.Vs. or campers!

 

The FreshAir Focus plugs into any outlet — making it great for hotel rooms or when traveling!

Our FreshAir Personal is a wearable unit that removes airborne contaminants and allergens from the air immediately around your body. Take it on the plane with you!

6 Things You Probably Aren’t Cleaning (But Totally Should Be)

6 Things You Probably Aren’t Cleaning (But Totally Should Be)

 

Your weekly cleaning schedule probably includes making sure all the majors are covered: floors, countertops, sinks, tubs, surfaces. But dirt, grime and dust don’t discriminate – they can (and will) settle anywhere, even on places you might not think to clean on a regular basis. So despite your best efforts, you may find yourself or family members coming down with more colds, stomach bugs or allergy and asthma flare-ups.

 

Here’s our list of the 6 items you should add to your cleaning rotation!

 

 

Your reusable water bottle

These are great: ditch disposable bottled water and fill your own reusable container. But are you diligent about washing it…or do you just do a cursory swirl of hot water every now and then? Both aluminum and plastic water bottles need a good cleaning to prevent mold and bacteria from forming inside, which could potentially contaminate your water.

You’ll need a bottle brush (which itself can be washed in your dishwasher), hot water and soap. Make sure you get into the curves and crevices of the bottle, and don’t forget to thoroughly scrub the lid components, including the mouthpiece (if there is one). You can also run your bottle and lid through the dishwasher, if instructions on the bottle or from the manufacturer indicate this is safe.

 

 

Your steering wheel

If you think about it for 5 seconds, you know we’re right. And here’s the thing: it’s worse than you think. Research has found that while 80 bacteria lurk on each square inch of toilet, around 700 harmful bugs inhabit the car’s interior.[1]

If your steering wheel is leather, pre-moistened leather wipes can be used for cleaning. For non-leather wheels, a regular antibacterial wipe can be used, or you can use a warm, soapy dish towel (wring out well beforehand) to wipe down the wheel.

 

 

Your reusable grocery bags

It’s becoming more and more popular (and in some cities, necessary) to bring reusable grocery bags with you when you shop. But food like meat, fruit and produce can be packed in less-than-secure packaging and be prone to leak. And that’s not something you want seeping into the fabric of your reusable bags.

Many bags are washable, with cotton varieties readily available. Washing them with hot water (or with your LaundryPure!) will eliminate the bacteria or sticky residue inside the bag.

 

 

Your earbuds

You wear them everywhere, including the gym – but do you ever clean them? The last thing you want to do is put something teeming with bacteria inside your ear.

Start by cleaning the earbud with a clean, dry toothbrush. This will sweep away dust and dirt in the metal parts of the earbud. Then use a premoistened antibacterial wipe to wipe down the bud. If you’d rather not use the antibacterial wipe, mix up a small bowl of warm water with a drop of dish soap. Quickly dip part of a paper towel into the solution, wring out, and use that to clean your earbuds. Of course, whenever possible, avoid sharing your earbuds with others.

 

 

Your hairbrushes & combs

Ladies (and a few gents!), does cleaning your hairbrush amount to a cursory removal of hair every few months…and that’s it? If you’ve noticed your hair feeling greasy of frizzy, it could be because of a build-up on your hairbrush.

After you remove the excess hair trapped within the bristles of the brush, fill a baking dish with warm water and 1 tablespoon each of dish soap and vinegar. Allow to soak at least one hour, or overnight. Rinse with clean water, and use toothbrush to scrub away any still-stuck on hair product or grime. Place the brushes on top of towel and let dry.

 

 

Your keys

They’re with you almost all the time – and to make them work, you have to touch them. It stands to reason, then, that your set of keys could be caked with all kinds of nastiness. So if the last time you cleaned them was never, take heed: it’s a relatively simple process.

Remove the keys from the ring (use an antibacterial wipe for gate/car entry clickers). Fill a bowl with (you guessed it!) warm soapy water. Using an unused toothbrush and a few toothpicks for smaller grooves, scrub the keys. Rinse well under clean water, and dry thoroughly before adding them back to your key ring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: [1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1379830/How-clean-car-Steering-wheels-times-germs-public-toilet-seat.html