Georgia-Pacific HealthSmart
  • Germs on Elevator Buttons

    Elevator buttons, door handles, the copy machine, phones, keyboards and candy dishes are all hotspots for germs in office buildings.

  • Germs in Healthcare

    One in 25 hospitalized patients acquires an infection as a result of receiving medical care.

  • Germs on Public Transportation

    Handrails, seats and doors are germ magnets on buses and trains.

  • Germs in Restaurants

    In a restaurant study, 69.7 percent of lemon slices carried various microorganisms–including the bacteria that can cause severe food poisoning–and other fecal bacteria.

  • Germs on Water Fountains

    The water fountain is one of the germiest things in elementary school, with 2.7 million bacteria per square inch.

Germ Hot Spots

Germs in Schools

Schools

According to a 2006 study by the nonprofit NSF International, the water fountain is one of the germiest things in school with which an elementary student can come in contact. At 2,700,000 aerobic bacteria per square inch, the average fountain spigot is far more bacterially active than other surfaces in school, like a cafeteria tray (33,800 bacteria per square inch), cold water faucet (32,000 bacteria per square inch), hot water faucet (18,000 bacteria per square inch), cafeteria plate (15,800 bacteria per square inch), computer keyboard (3,300 bacteria per square inch), toilet seat (3,200 bacteria per square inch), or the hand of a fellow student (1,500 bacteria per square inch). (1)

Learn how proper hand washing reduces absenteeism in schools.


Germs in Hospitals

Healthcare

One in 25 hospitalized patients acquires an infection as a result of receiving medical care.(2) HAIs, or hospital-acquired infections, are recognized as one of the most common complications of healthcare.

Surfaces in the patient room that have the greatest risk for germ contamination include touchpad monitors, sinks, infusion pumps, the nurse call button, bed rails, supply cart drawer handles and the floor. Grab rails, light switches and door handles are also susceptible to germ contamination, as they are cleaned less frequently (only 30% of the time, on average) compared to other surfaces.(3)

Learn more about the importance of hand washing and facility cleaning in the reduction of HAIs.

Help Reduce Cross Contamination in the Patient Room

Most Frequently Missed Spots Cleaning Patient Rooms

Bacteria in the Patient Room


Germs in Office Buildings

Office buildings

Office buildings are full of opportunities…to pick up germs. The worst hot spots include elevator buttons, door handles, door frames, the copy machine, break room appliances like coffeepots, refrigerators, microwaves and water coolers, conference tables, candy dishes, phones and the desktop—including keyboards and mice.(4, 5)

Wash your hands often, don’t touch your face after coming in contact with high-risk surfaces, and use hand sanitizer to help stay healthy and productive.

Top 10 Germ Hot Spots in Your Office


Germs on Public Transportation

Public Transportation

It’s no surprise that public transportation is susceptible to germ infestations, given the large number of people who rely on crowded buses, trains and planes to get around.

Handrails, seats and doors are germ magnets on buses and trains. Don’t touch these surfaces and then touch your face without first washing or sanitizing your hands. Also resist the urge to put your hands in your pockets after touching these surfaces—you can spread germs to your cell phone, keys, or whatever else you might have tucked away.(6)

Airline travel warrants vigilance as well. To minimize exposure to germs when you fly, avoid using the seatback pocket, as many passengers use them as temporary trash bins, stowing used tissues and even dirty diapers. Skip the tray table too, unless you can clean it with a disinfectant wipe. If you use the plane’s lavatory, be sure to bring disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer along, try not to touch anything directly, and close the toilet lid before flushing. It’s also a good idea to bring your own pillow, blanket, digital entertainment and reading material—the amenities offered onboard have typically been handled by many different people before they are cleaned or replaced.(7)


Germs in Restaurants

Restaurants

When you’re dining out, be sure you don’t leave the restaurant with more than your doggie bag.

Germs are present on all of the obvious surfaces, like seats, tabletops, and buffets, but there are several other germ-prone spots that don’t always get enough love from the cleaning department. They include bathroom door handles, bathroom faucets, menus, salt and pepper shakers, soap dispensers and ketchup bottles.(8, 9)

The rim of your glass may be harboring germs, too, since some waiters carry multiple glasses with one hand by sticking their fingers into them. You might also think twice about that extra lemon for your drink or entrée. A 2007 study published in The Journal of Environmental Health revealed that 69.7 percent of lemon slices carried various microorganisms–including the bacteria that can cause severe food poisoning–and other fecal bacteria.

10 Inconspicuous Germs That Are Hiding in Your Restaurant

Credits:

  1. National Education Association http://www.nea.org/home/32010.htm
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/surveillance/index.html, retrieved April 4, 2014
  3. Carling PC, Parry MF, Rupp ME, et al. Improving cleaning of the environment surrounding the patients in 36 acute care hospitals. Infection Control and Epidemiology 2008: 29: 1035-1041. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/591940
  4. Aventure, February 4, 2013. Don’t touch that—5 common germ-infested office items. http://aventure.com/office-life/don’t-touch-that-5-common-germ-infested-office-items
  5. Sarah Jio, for Women’s Day, posted March 2013. 9 surprising office germ havens. http://www.womansday.com/home/cleaning-tips/9-surprising-office-germ-havens-99469
  6. West Valley Urgent Care http://westvalleyurgentcare.com/best-avoid-germs-public-transportation
  7. Drexel Medicine http://www.drexelmedicine.org/patient-services/infectious-diseases/more-about-infectious-disease-and-hiv-care/6-of-the-germiest-places-on-the-airplane-and-how-to-avoid-them/
  8. Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennifercohen/2012/06/12/10-worst-germ-hot-spots
  9. ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Health/10-germiest-places-restaurant-hint-bathroom/story?id=17728078