A consumer product company named Kimberly–Clark, released a report recently about the amount of bacteria on public surfaces. The study involved extensive testing in six major United States cities. The company looked for a certain molecule present in all living cells called Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP. The company decided to look for ATP because ATP would indicate that the surface had been contaminated by humans, animals, vegetables, bacteria, mold, or yeast. If the investigation report revealed an ATP count of 300 or higher, it would mean that the surface is a high risk for illness transmission.
We all sometimes forget how dirty surfaces can be. In Arizona where I live, the supermarkets or grocery stores supply hand wipes to wipe your grocery cart handle. I am very appreciative of the hand wipes for I have not had the flu in the last few years since I have been using them. When I learned of this study I was amazed at the surfaces that I tended to forget as being dirty. We all pump our gas ourselves now. Did you realize that 71% of gas pump handles are contaminated with bacteria and who knows what else? The next time you go to mail a letter remember that 68% of mailbox handles are contaminated. Instead of taking the stairs, we like to ride the escalator. It was found that 33% of escalator rails are contaminated. The next time you go to the ATM To withdraw some cash, think about the ATM buttons as 41% contaminated. Parking meters and kiosk contaminated were found to be 40% and crosswalk buttons were 35% contaminated. The next time you get a snack from the vending machine, remember vending machine buttons were found to be 35% contaminated. Please wash your hands before opening that bag of chips and putting your hands in your mouth. Who knows who just came out of the bathroom without washing their hands before pushing that button to get their snack!
We cannot live our lives in fear. Dirt and bacteria are everywhere, however if we keep it in the back of our minds and wash our hands as much as possible, I do believe it can help keep away such things as the common cold, the flu and possibly worse illness.
The act of washing our hands is a simple act to great prevention of illness.