50 Germiest Places in the World
With cold and flu season in full swing and the newest strain of flu scaring everyone, what can the average person to do avoid getting sick? The short answer as always: wash your hands regularly, especially before you eat. Another good way is to educate yourself on the 50 germiest places in the world, how to avoid them, and what you can do to better your chances.
Germiest Places To Work
The next time you get a bug and have to call in sick to work, it just might be your work that made you sick. Check out the below germiest jobs to see if yours is on the list and how to better your odds.
Another reason teachers are underrated: they get exposed to more germs short of a job that requires a hazard suit. Loads of kids, messes, and the lack of time for proper hygiene all make the classroom one of the germiest places in the world. The germiest place in the classroom? A student’s desktop. Daycare workers also fall into this category.
If money is the root of all evil, it can also be the root of your flu if you’re a cashier. The amount of germs and bacteria found on cash can range from flu to illegal narcotics to worse. Couple this with the fact that cashiers must man their station from start to finish and rarely have time to wash, it’s no wonder that this is the number two position. Bank tellers are also at similar risk.
Generally thought as one of the safest jobs, not so when it comes to germs. The constant passing back and forth of papers, phone calls, and desk time can make this one of the germiest jobs in America. If you’re an accountant, take more breaks, go outside, and definitely wipe down that desk.
- Computer Technician
Ever wonder why your tech support guy brings his or her own keyboard and mouse? It’s probably due to the unexplained bout of flu they had. Also, being trapped in different offices several times a day with loads of different people doesn’t help either.
- Healthcare Professional
This includes doctors, nurses, and even lab workers and receptionists. The reason these professions aren’t farther up the list is that they take extreme precautions to avoid the spread of germs. The germiest place to practice? Pediatrics.
- Police Officer
Because suspects often carry needles along with germs, anyone who interacts with them on a regular basis, such as a police officer, is at a higher risk. In addition, when arresting a suspect, cops can also be required to search them, exposing them to even more germs. Even everyday constant interaction with the law abiding can lead to more germs.
- Animal Control
Whether you work for this office, at the pound, or volunteer at a shelter, exposure to animals can be pretty germy. This is especially so if the animals you come across are strays who don’t have their shots or know how to behave around humans. Getting bitten or scratched increases risk exposure to germs. Farmers and other agricultural personnel are exposed to similar but diminished risks.
- Exotic Dancer
Given the closed door nature of gentlemen’s clubs, it isn’t exactly known how bad the germs are in this profession. However, if you see any signs of flu or other illness, stay away from the club. This article from “Men’s Health” has more.
Germiest Places in the Gym
You go here to get healthy, so stay that way by avoiding these germ land mines.
Everyone uses them, but few wash them. Ever wonder why you get warts? If you visit the gym and hit the weights, that might be why. The best way to protect yourself? Weight lifting gloves. They also protect against calluses and help you grip the weights properly.
- Yoga Mats
Although not an increasingly sweat producing exercise, yoga mats are one of the germiest places at the gym. Public ones are often used multiple times a day, dragged across the floor, and piled on top of one another. If you don’t feel like bringing your own, wipe down the one you are using.
- Bike Seats
That exercise bike can give you fantastic legs, but it can also give you something more. Sometimes ridden for hours a day, they can collect loads of sweat. The good news is, your shorts are usually enough to protect you.
- Treadmill Hand Rails
Because runners wipe their sweat and then grab the rails, they can be fairly germy. Also, some of the less courteous runners may choose to drench themselves in their own drinking water, leaving even more germs. But truly avid runners don’t need to touch the hand rails anyway to enjoy a run.
- Locker Room Showers
Who knew a place that was constantly bombarded with hot water and soap could be so germy? However, shower walls, doors, curtains, etc. that were tested for germs usually came back positive. Yet another reason to wash your hands.
- Locker Room Floors
Not to be outdone, floors in a locker room can collect innumerable amounts of germs. Sneakers, sweat, bare feet, and more all add to the collection. Makes the guy or gal wearing flip-flops in the shower look less ridiculous.
Get numerous people in a crowded place to sweat and you get germs. Because energy used working out can deplete the immune system, people who are sick, starting to feel sick, or still getting over the flu should avoid the gym.
Germiest Places in the Office
One of the reasons you are getting sick from work are the items that contain germs. Check the below to see why and when you should wash.
- The Phone
If you have your own private phone, there is less to worry about. But if you man a front desk, share an office, or use any kind of community phone, it often tests positive as the germiest place in the office. It gets used at all times of the day, can have saliva deposits on the receiver, and rarely gets washed.
- The Keyboard
Because keyboards don’t react well to most cleaners, this can also be one of the germiest places in the office. It is constantly struck by both clean and dirty hands, even if they are your own. Janitors rarely clean keyboards either, and when they do, it’s usually a quick dust.
- The Mouse
For the same reason as the above, the mouse can also be a frequent source of germs. They are also unlikely to be cleaned or even thought about unless they become sticky.
- The Desk
This surface is exposed to as many germs as the above two. Hands, sneezes, and more can all end up on your desk’s surface. Doubly at risk are those who eat at their desk without wiping it down beforehand. For this reason, women’s desks were found to be dirtier than men’s.
- The Front Door
Even if you work in a non-public office, everyone uses the front door at least once during their workday. This is more so if you work in a shared office building where hundreds of employees go in and out on a daily basis. If your building has a revolving door, trying entering and exiting through there using your elbow.
- The Candy Jar
Every office has at least one candy lover who openly shares with everyone. A nice gesture, and when it comes to wrapped candy, a fairly sanitary practice. However, if M&M’s, Skittles, or other colorful temptations lie in wait, avoid. The number of people dipping and re-dipping into the jar can leave an unknown and hazardous amount of germs.
- The Trash Bin
Ever throw something away you wish you hadn’t? Then get ready to meet a world of germs on your way to get it. This is also true of the recycle bin. The remedy as always, wash after retrieving the item and, if possible, discard the retrieved item once are done with it.
- The Watercooler
Even if your co-workers don’t gather around it, they probably visit it at least once or twice a day. That makes the little spigot that gives you water quite the germ catcher. If you have a janitor, request that he or she wipes it down each day with disinfectant.
- The Light Switch
This another often-used, rarely cleaned item. The germiest light switch in the office? Of course, it’s the main one that controls the lights in the common or cubicle areas.
- What You Write With
Have a jar of pens on your desk that co-workers constantly give and take from? Then you can potentially have a germy place. Try keeping a pen or two out of easy reach and using them instead.
Germiest Travel Places in the World
Because travel is meant for fun or business and not getting sick, learn these germiest places to avoid.
- The Hotel/Motel Comforter
The sheets and even blankets get washed every day and in between guests. However, the comforter tells its own story. It may be weeks, months, or years between washes, as they can be expensive to. Try bringing a duvet cover from home or products made for just such an occasion.
- Hard Surfaces
The sheets and bathrooms are cleaned before and after each guest, but the hard surfaces may not be. This includes doorknobs, the aforementioned light switch, drawer handles, and remotes. Also, putting that hotel pen in your pocket may not be a good idea either.
- The Whirlpool
It may seem like a luxury offered by your hotel, but it is also one of the germiest places in the place. They have tested positive for rashes, urinary-tract infections, and even pneumonia. Your best bet is to stick to the chlorinated pool.
- The Conveyor Belt
Because just about every item from all over the world has touched it, the conveyor belt amasses loads of germs. The suitcases that pass through it are also unlikely to be clean. Just another reason to go carry-on when you can.
- The Backpack
Your child may love his or her backpack, but it can gather germs much like anything else a kid uses. Dragging it on the floor, grabbing it with dirty hands, and letting who knows what ride in it can make it quite the germiest place. Also, true for the bottom of the ladies’ purse or gentleman’s handbag. Luckily, many children’s backpacks are washer friendly.
- Blankets and Pillows
If you’re uncomfortable in your airline seat, think twice about that pillow or blanket. It may not have been washed since the last passenger used it and can contain any number of germs. Dress heavier if you anticipate being cold on a plane and wear a scarf or jacket that can double as a pillow or blanket.
- The Airplane Air
Similar to the gym, the airplane contains loads of people packed into a tiny space sharing recycled air. Adding to this is the low humidity in airplane cabins, drying the sinuses, or natural defenses, in travelers leading to the spread of more germs. The best way to avoid this is to avoid the bar and stay hydrated with bottled water.
- The Floor
Ladies may be tempted to kick off those designer heels for a long flight or upon entering a hotel room. Although they are both vacuumed regularly, only a steam clean or similar wash can keep them from being one of the germiest places in the world. Better to look silly with a pair of socks than suffer a foot fungus later.
Other Germiest Places in the World
Because you encounter them in everyday life, beware of the below germiest places.
- The Shopping Cart
With up to thirty or more people a day using it, it is no wonder shopping carts can collect so many germs. The driver’s hands, sneezes, raw food, and loads of other potential germ carriers come into contact with it. Doubly so if a child has sat in the seat. If the store offers antibacterial wipes, use them.
- The Menu
Restaurants in all 50 states are required to adhere to strict health and sanitary standards. However, the menu is not part of that. Because many people use it a day and may not be cleaned until the end of the day, if at all, menus can be one of the germiest places in the restaurant. Another reason to wash before you eat.
- The ATM
A quick source of cash, it can also be a quick source of germs. Many are located outdoors, exposing them to the elements and animals, along with all the other patrons who have used it before you. The worst offenders are those in busy places such as airports, hotels, and any other heavy traffic area.
- Wet Laundry
But isn’t it clean? While some germs may have been killed during the cycle, others have used the wet environment to multiply. Remember that the wash cycle is mainly for removing stains. Be sure to throw the clothes into the dryer immediately. The hot air cycle will do the rest.
- Public Water Fountains
Used by the germiest culprit, children, water fountains can be the germiest place in the school, park, etc. If your thirst outweighs your need to avoid germy places, use your sleeve to push the button and don’t touch the spigot.
Following suit of the above, playgrounds are also germy for the same reasons. Multiple kids climb, play, and even occasionally put their mouths on the playground equipment. Simply make sure your child doesn’t do the latter and give them some antibacterial gel after done playing.
- The Tub
Even if you wash it regularly, water collecting at the bottom can still breed germs. If you do have water collecting, grab a plunger and get unclogging. If water instantly drains, be sure to clean the tub on a regular basis.
- The Kitchen Sink
We’ve discussed other germy places, so why leave this one off? With a regular host of raw food, dirty dishes, and more, the sink can accumulate a significant amount of germs with the preparation of just one meal. Clean often using antibacterial spray or bleach.
Mythical Germiest Places in the World
The below are often thought of as the germiest places, yet unrightfully so.
- The Toilet Seat
Although the thought of sitting on a public toilet seat can be frightful, it actually isn’t as bad as you think. The only way to catch something from a toilet seat is to have open cuts or sores on the area touching. Germs also have a hard time surviving on bare, dry surfaces. WebMD tells you more about this along with:
- Bathroom Faucets
If avoiding the faucets in the public restroom, you are doing more harm than good. Washing your hands in a public restroom prevents more germs than touching a faucet does. This is especially true if you are at a restaurant and about to eat. If still paranoid, use a paper towel to turn the faucet off after washing.
- The Garbage Can
Although it can contain hazardous germs if raw food and other dangerous materials are present, your home’s garbage can isn’t as dirty as you think. It actually contains about four times less the germs than a typical bathtub. If you use a liner and wipe down on a regular basis, it isn’t as germy as previously thought.
This job requires the cleaning of germs all day. However, with the proper precautions, it doesn’t have to be germy. Sanitary workers who wear gloves while they clean and change clothes after are exposed to a minimal amount of germs. If working at a healthcare facility or nursing home, be sure and take all the advised precautions.
- Your Toothbrush
Dentists say to replace your toothbrush regularly, but is it for best results on teeth or the buildup of germs? The guys at Mythbusters ran an experiment on toothbrushes that showed they contained germs but not a dangerous amount. They also explored the myth that a toothbrush shouldn’t be placed near a toilet.
- Five Second Rule
If you drop a piece of food, you have five seconds to pick it up before germs cling to it. This is the rule, and Dr. Oz agrees. If the dropped food is in your sight the whole time, go ahead. However, be warned if it is wet food such as dip, as they can collect germs instantly.
- Antibacterial Soap Is Better
Most soaps nowadays say “antibacterial,” but is there any advantage to using them? The short answer is “no.” All soaps have germ killing properties and, if used properly, can rid your hands of a significant amount of them.
- The Hand Dryer
It may be a greener option, but is it one of the germiest places? In actuality, the hot air from the dryer can actually kill more germs than a paper towel. However, there are negative points if you end up wiping your hands on your clothes.
- People Are Cleaner Than Dogs
A good philosophy if you’re a dog. In reality dogs carry germs in their mouths just like people, but most are harmless to us. In this article from ABC, an expert actually states that he would rather be bitten by a dog than a human.
Everywhere you go, whether it’s the office, travel, or most other places, you’re going to encounter these germs. Know that washing before meals is one of the best ways to eliminate most germs. If you are concerned about the 50 germiest places in the world, ask a physician or health professional for an expert opinion.