Protect yourself from ‘unforeseen’ contaminants

The year has just begun, and its a good time to take a more diligent approach to your everyday hygiene.

Consider your average day: All the places you travel to and the people you interact with. Now think for a moment of all the things your hands come in contact with, during the day. There is a plethora of invisible germs and bacteria on every surface your hands touch. These germs can be one of the major causes of infections, cold, flu, and other respiratory diseases.

Dr. Hariprasad, Ayurveda Expert at The Himalaya Drug Company, highlights some of the most unexpected germ carriers, and a simple method to prevent contraction of these germs.

* Purses and Wallets

Purses are rarely disinfected, so germs on every surface that your purse comes into contact with, come home with you. Purses are left on the countertops in bathrooms, the seats of public transport, and many other surfaces that are teeming with germs. Wallets contain the most bacteria-infested item of all – money. Notes travel from one dirty hand to the other, and there’s no way of preventing the transfer of germs to your hands.

* Television Remote Control

The television remote control may seem like an odd addition to this list, but is hardly ever disinfected, and comes into contact with hands every day. Hotel remotes are even more contaminated. As hotels have guests from different places, there is an increased risk of viruses or contaminants being present on these remote controls.

* Cell Phones

Your cell phone is never far from your reach, which means that this essential communication device is a carrier of germs and infections. This subsequently gets transferred to your hands and face. Every time you use your phone, you may be transferring bacteria straight to your face.

* Sponges and hand towels

With as many as 10 million bacteria per square inch, dish sponges are probably one of the most germ-infested items in your house. Hand towels are also riddled with germs and bacteria. Since towels absorb water, it makes them the perfect host for bacteria, which grow best in warm and moist conditions.

* Banisters and Escalators

Holding the banister when you walk down the stairs is a safety precaution but it can also lead to contracting diseases from the germs present on the surface. Escalators in malls, airports, and other public places are also full of germs from all the people who previously used them. As per a study by Kimberly-Clark, 43 per cent of escalators surveyed had high-enough contamination levels to spread illnesses.

* ATM keypads

The next time you visit the ATM to withdraw cash, think twice about touching the keypad directly. It is estimated that 41 per cent of ATMs have enough germs to cause an infection or disease. There might not be much you can do about handling currency notes. However, you can use a hand sanitiser to clean your hands immediately after withdrawing money.

“Today, every external area is a potential breeding bed for infections and diseases. It is important to be mindful of keeping your hands sanitized to avoid spreading and contracting infections. A good hand sanitizer with natural ingredients such as Lime and Neem is less likely to cause skin problems. It is also a natural deodorizer and will leave your hands moisturized instead of dry,” Dr. Hariprasad said.

Washing your hands with clean water and soap is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe from infections, as it helps disinfect your hands better. Since washing your hands is not always possible, carrying a good hand sanitiser with you is essential to keep your hands disinfected. Hand sanitizers can be used by adults and children (as young as 6 years) under the supervision of adults. Several interesting variants, such as strawberry, green apple, litchi, orange and lemon add an element of freshness and fun to everyday hygiene.

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