Do You Know Where Germs Are Waiting for Your Kids?

In a recent survey 1,000 people were asked where they thought disease-causing germs were most likely to be found: shopping cart handles, porta potties, playground equipment, escalator handrails, or picnic tables. The results were compared to the real culprits disclosed in a paper by University of Arizona professor Dr. Charles Gerba, one of the nation’s leading experts on environmental microbiology.

The spread of germs from people to objects to other people (usually by way of the hands) is a common pathway that gets kids sick. Knowing which objects are the worst germ-sources is important so that you can encourage your kids to clean their hands after coming in contact with them. To clean the hands, I like a good scrub with soap and warm water, but it’s not always practical. I also like using alcohol based instant hand sanitizers for cleaning kids’ hands. These can be even more effective at killing germs. They’re quick, easy, gentle, and get the job done. And many kids really like to use them! Tuck some in the purse, glove compartment, or picnic basket, and take the germ survey to find out if you are “smarter than the average bear” when it comes to identifying where the germs are most likely to be lurking. Or just skip to the answers.

Published on: July 04, 2004
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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