Pass The Paper Towels
We all need a hobby.
So some of us play golf. Some collect seashells. Others like to garden.
Me? I keep track of germy places.
Those lists came in handy when I was column writing for The Pilot. I pulled them out at the start of flu season when I would pen my annual keep-your-filthy-paws-to-yourself column, urging readers to be conscious of cooties and try not to spread theirs.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I secretly delighted in giving readers information that would suddenly make them squeamish in places they once enjoyed.
I mean, have you ever thought about the pathogens that colonize on menus? Those things are crawling with microbes and are almost never cleaned or replaced. It’s a fact. Wear gloves when you go out to dinner. Or squirt your menu with Purell.
And airline tray tables.
One microbiologist told me they were the dirtiest items she’d ever tested.
Oh, and let’s not forget hotel bedspreads. Polyester petrie dishes.
You can’t imagine what’s on them. It's revolting. Just put on your rubber gloves - you always carry a pair, don’t you? - and use them to fold down the spread. You should be fine. Be sure to put those latex babies on again before you touch the remote control.
Hey, I’m just trying to help.
Well, I was reading the Atlanta Journal Constitution yesterday when I stumbled across one more nugget for my collection. Best of all, it confirms something I’ve always suspected:
Hand dryers in public restrooms do more than dry your hands. They cover your mitts with nasty bacteria.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine made the discovery. Bless their curious souls. They tested dryers in 36 restrooms and found a mother lode of microbes.
As the dryers blast out air, they also suck up bacteria from the bathroom, which can fester inside the device and be blown out onto the hands. The germs can then travel between rooms of a large building.
Want me to detail which germs thrive in public restrooms? I didn’t think so. But one of the reasons you scrub your hands with hot water and soap in the lavatory is to rid yourself of such disgusting microbes.
Then you hit the dryer and spray 'em back on.
Maybe it’s time we reverted to paper towels. They’re a germaphobe’s best friend. You can use them to dry your hands and to open the bathroom door.
Grab a paper towel and you can walk on out, confident that your hands are clean and sanitized.
But not for long.