March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011
Protect Yourself From Germs

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope your weekend is off to a safe and great start. It is another busy weekend for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

We will be making an appearance at the M Project Beads and Boys Event this evening. The theme of the evening is casino night. Those showing up in costume will receive extra chips for playing poker, roulette and other games. There will also be plenty of other activities and food going on during the event. So get your picture taken with Dab the AIDS Bear in support of people living with HIV and AIDS.

Even though we are almost in Spring in most of the country, there are still colds and the flu going around even here in south Florida. So what can you do to protect yourself from germs?

On average, an adult can touch as many as 30 objects within a minute, including germ harboring, high traffic surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, phone receivers and remote controls. At home, you do all you can to keep germs at bay. But what happens when you go out to dinner, do some grocery shopping or visit the doctor's office? If you know where germs are most likely to lurk, you can protect yourself.

1. Restaurant Menus

Have you ever seen anyone wash a menu? Probably not. A study in the Journal of Medical Virology reported that cold and flu viruses can survive for 18 hours on hard surfaces. If it is a popular restaurant, hundreds of people could be handling the menus and passing their germs on to you. Never let a menu touch your plate or silverware, and be sure to wash your hands after you place your order.

2. Lemon Wedges

According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health, nearly 70 percent of the lemon wedges perched on the rims of restaurant glasses contain disease causing microbes. When the researchers ordered drinks at 21 different restaurants, they found 25 different microorganisms lingering on the 76 lemons they secured, including E. coli and other fecal bacteria. Tell your server that you would prefer your beverage sans fruit. Why risk it?

3. Condiment Dispensers

It is the rare eatery that regularly cleans its condiment containers. And the reality is that many people do not wash their hands before eating, says Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., a germs specialist and public health professor at the University of Arizona. So while you may be diligent, the guy who poured the ketchup before you may not have been, which means his germs are now on your fingers and your fries. Squirt hand sanitizer on the outside of the condiment bottle or use a disinfectant wipe before you grab it.

4. Restroom Door Handles

Do not think you can escape the restroom without touching the door handle? Palm a spare paper towel after you wash up and use it to grasp the handle. Yes, other patrons may think you are a germphobe but you will never see them again, and you are the one who will not get sick.

Tomorrow, I will conclude this blog and give you four more ways to protect yourself from germs.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab