Skip to content
    Font Size

    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 flu 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.

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.