12 Places Germs Lurk
Public health experts tell WebMD about the 'dirty dozen' of places where germs love to hide.
Germy Place No. 12: Hospitals
The risk: "More people die from hospital-related
infections every year than from car accidents," Moser says, citing CDC
data. This is not because hospitals are unsanitary, but because there is a high
concentration of germs and vulnerable people in the same place. There is also
increased risk of exposure to bacteria that are resistant to treatment with
"The area of hospitals with the most infections is the ICU (intensive
care unit)," Archibald tells WebMD. Intensive care patients may have
compromised immune systems, along with surgical wounds or medical devices that
can introduce germs. "Patients need to realize this is a risk,"
Your defense: The Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
recommends looking for hospitals and surgeons with a low infection rate ahead
of any planned procedure. In addition, always ask hospital staff and visitors
to wash their hands before touching you.
The Universal Germ Fighter
All of our experts stress that there is one simple strategy for fighting
germs in almost any setting: Wash your hands. "Do it often and do it
correctly," Moser says. "That can't be overemphasized."