Weather Outside is Cold; What’s Inside May Be Frightening: Top Areas That Carry Viruses

Posted by Lubbock Heart and Surgical Hospital on Dec 12, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Weather Outside is Cold; What's Inside May Be Frightening: Top Areas that Carry Viruses

It’s getting colder outside, that’s for sure. So many of us are clamoring not only to get inside, but to stay inside. What you may not know is that many things inside your home – besides your sneezing, coughing family member – are carrying viruses you may not be aware of.

According to the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags have Salmonella, E. coli, and fecal matter – compared to 9 percent on bathroom faucet handles.

Ewwwww, right?

To keep you not only warm this winter season, but also healthy; here are some areas (and items) within your home the NSF alerts consumers carry viruses you may have overlooked:

  • Cutting boards
  • Coffee maker
  • Refrigerator – especially areas in contact with uncooked and unwashed food
  • Kitchen sink and countertops

Here are some tips for keeping these spots clean:

  • Use disinfectant wipes on the faucet, refrigerator surfaces and countertops.
  • Heat damp sponges in the microwave for a minute to kill bacteria.
  • Soak sponges in a quart of warm water with half a teaspoon of concentrated bleach.
  • Change dish towels a few times a week.
  • Wash your hands before and after touching or handling food.

The NSF also points out the following areas to keep close watch on:

  • Bathroom light switches
  • Refrigerator handles
  • Stove knobs
  • Microwave handles

These areas can be cleaned once a week with disinfecting wipes – and it’s best to use a new wipe for each spot instead of using the same one on every area.

In other areas of the house, the NSF points to remote controls, computer keyboards, phones and tablets often shared by multiple family members and guests. The NSF reports yeast and mold on computer keyboards, remote controls, and video game controllers as well as staph.

Surfaces also contribute to bacteria growth and diversity. For example, a carpet can hold up to eight times its weight in dirt and dust and may be dirtier than a city street. So, be sure to vacuum at least once-weekly.

While this all may seem daunting as we spend more time inside this cold, winter season – don’t let it be frightening! Good habits like taking your shoes off before walking through the house and washing your hands after using the bathroom, touching raw food and following the tips above will help keep you and your family healthy!

Additionally, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend regular hand washing throughout the day with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds to remove germs and avoid illnesses.

Knowledge is power. These simple tips will keep you and your family healthy during the “indoor” season.

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Topics: General Health & Wellness