Not all germs are bad, but many are, and they are lurking everywhere, including the soil, the air, our water and food supplies, our pets, people we come in contact with and all of the surfaces we touch. However, most people don’t realize that the home of all places is host to more germs than most public places.
A global hygiene study was conducted by The Hygiene Council, which is funded by Reckitt Benckiser, the parent company of the disinfectant products under the name Lysol. The study they conducted included more than 10,000 people worldwide, including about 1,000 people in the U.S. In the survey, only 5% of the U.S. participants answered “in the home” when they were asked where they thought children are most likely to come in contact with the most germs.
Their study also revealed that 55% of all respondents worldwide thought the garbage can would pose the greatest risk of transmitting germs to the family. However, the fact of the matter is the bath tub actually harbors more germs than the average garbage can. Another interesting, yet forgotten fact is that a lot of germs can be found in some unsuspecting places as well, such as light switches, door handles, faucets, everyday appliances, telephones, tv remotes, electronic devices and computer keyboards. Most of us do not realize that germs such as the Rotavirus (the one that causes severe diarrhea) can survive on surfaces for up to 14 days. Others that can cause wound infections can survive weeks to months.
According to The Hygiene Council, research from 17 studies now prove that good personal hygiene such as simple hand washing with soap and water and drying hands on a clean towel can reduce the risk of getting a stomach virus by up to 47%. The problem is, many people, especially children ignore this simple, yet effective way to killing the harmful germs. However, experts are now saying that the over use of Antibacterial products can be harmful as well because some germs are beneficial and are needed for proper immune function and some harmful germs will begin to mutate and become more resistant. That is why just soap and water and drying hands is highly recommended.
Besides hand washing, keeping surfaces, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom adequately disinfected, and frequent laundering of towels and bedding are the other keys to helping keep harmful pathogens from spreading not only in the home, but throughout the community as well.
Although keeping a clean home is a priority for most of us, the toxins found in many products are just as much of a concern. There are many natural products available on the market that work just as well without the harmful chemicals. Some people even choose to make their own cleaning supplies using simple yet safe ingredients.
Keeping germs from breeding and spreading should be a concern for us all. And it begins with realizing that the home is potentially the most germ infested place around. You can do your part in keeping germs from spreading by using good personal hygiene habits and regularly cleaning the high traffic germ areas and items in your home. This alone will help improve the health and well being of your family and even your community.