12 Places Germs Lurk
Public health experts tell WebMD about the 'dirty dozen' of places where germs love to hide.
Germy Place No. 6: Swimming Pools
The risk: The CDC has recorded an increase in recreational
water illnesses over the past decade. The most common problem is infectious diarrhea, which
can be caused by germs such as Giardia, Shigella,
Norovirus, E. coli, and Crypto, short for
Cryptosporidium. A pool is easily contaminated when someone with
diarrhea goes swimming, and chlorine doesn't always kill the germs immediately.
Crypto can survive for days even in a properly disinfected pool.
Your defense: The CDC offers these tips:
- Avoid swallowing pool water or getting it in your mouth.
- To protect others, don't swim when you have diarrhea.
- Shower before swimming.
- Wash your hands before returning to the pool after using the toilet or
changing a diaper.
- Don't let your child swim if he or she has diarrhea, and use rubber pants
for young children who are not potty trained.
Germy Place No. 7: Movie Theaters
The risk: Similar to an airplane, movie theaters draw many
people into close quarters for a couple of hours. Moser points out that viral
infections can be contagious a day before symptoms appear, so people with colds or
may go to the movies without knowing they are sick.
Your defense: Avoid touching your eyes or nose during the
movie and wash your hands after leaving the theater. To protect others, watch
movies at home when you are ill.
Germy Place No. 8: Day Care Centers
The risk: During a diaper change, children may get fecal
matter on their hands and then touch a toy. When another child plays with the
same toy and then sucks his or her thumb, infection can occur. This is called
fecal-oral transmission, and Archibald says it's a common source of diarrheal
illness in children. Since young kids love to put things in their mouths,
shared toys can also become contaminated with saliva.
Your defense: Ensure your children are immunized
appropriately and avoid sending them to day care when they are sick, Moser
advises. In addition, make sure your day care provider washes children's hands
after a diaper change.