Despite the fact that I ran around for weeks downing Airbourne and bathing myself in hand sanitizer, I couldn’t outrun the flu and it currently has me severely down and out (don’t worry I’m not about to sprout a curly tail over here, it’s just our regular old seasonal pal).
As I spent the weekend lying in bed, underneath a pile of tissues and cough drop wrappers, I attempted to retrace my steps. Where did I go wrong? The first thing that popped into my head was a toilet. I mean, aren’t public restrooms pretty much the dirtiest places we visit? But I am positive that I had maintained sturdy squats never losing balance and always flushing with my shoe…
So where could I have picked up this infections, atrocious and nastalicious flu?
Apparently, the possibilities are endless. Well, not totally endless. It turns out the toilet is the least likely culprit. The porcelain god may be dirty, but it is cleaner than a lot of things we encounter every day. The worst part? We don’t even realize the things that are swimming in bacteria. Gross bacteria. The kind that definitely caused whatever has taken over my poor little body.
Here’s a list of some of the culprits to watch out for. Be careful out there, people, or you may be joining me in my germ infested death bed come next weekend.
Purses. Researchers found hundreds of thousands of germs present on a woman’s purse, which included fecal bacteria, cold viruses and viruses that cause diarrhea. Pretty freakin’ gross. But I know none of us are going to throw out our gorgeous patent leather Kooba (or should I say Poo-ba) hobo, so if your bag has touched the ground (and who’s hasn’t) leave it there. Keep that beauty away from tables, desks or your bed so the germs stay as far away from you as possible.
Computer Keyboards. The gross truth is that you’d collect fewer bacteria if you rubbed your hands over a toilet seat than if you sat down and typed out an essay (one study found that the keyboard had 60 times more germs per square inch then a toilet in a public restroom). Bottom line: clean your keyboard! You can mix some dishwashing liquid on a damp towel and wipe the keyboard and screen down; you’d be amazed at how many of those little suckers you’d be killing off.
Towels. Since the majority of us live in dorms this couldn’t be more important. First off, NEVER put your towel down anywhere in a communal bathroom or let it sit in a heap on your bedroom floor. Regular old flu viruses are the least of your worries at this point; students have gotten staph infections that result in permanent scars and even death from having their wet towels laying around in a pile, or touching someone else’s and then reusing them. (Also, oils from your skin build up on towels creating bacteria that cause acne, so washing towels once a week is a must to keep our skin zit-free!)
Cell Phones. You know that device you have glued to your ear the entire day? It’s filthy (and I’m not talking about those naughty photos you’ve been sending around…). Bacteria that cause nasty annoyances like pimples and boils and life threatening illnesses like pneumonia and meningitis have all been found lurking on your Blackberry. Never lay your phone down on desks in class or tables in the caf, and disinfect it on a daily basis because our skin creates the most harmful bacteria. That’s right dropping our cells into a toilet would probably clean them off a little.
Lindsay Lohan. Or any other skanky starlet for that matter. Steer clear; you don’t need whatever they’re carrying lurking in your air space. This also applies to skanky starlet wannabe’s running around your campus swapping spit and bodily fluids with god knows who.
Grossed out? Me too. I’m going to go douse my entire life in Pine-Sol now.
I suggest you do the same.