Sure, there are just three cases that have tested positive by state officials. But it may be time to start thinking about what exactly you’re putting your hands on. Here, in no particular order, are some of the most common germ spreaders you may come across in your daily routine.
Remote control: If someone is sick in your house, you wouldn’t share a cup with them, so why are you fighting over the remote? When’s the last time anyone cleaned that thing? If you’re the first to catch flu-like symptoms in your house, you should assume you’re losing remote privileges. Wipe down the remote every so often. And don’t even think about touching the remote in your hotel room (or the phone, for that matter) without sanitizing it first.
Dish sponge: You’re conscientious about wiping down every plate and bowl carefully — with the same sponge for every plate. If something is wet, absorbent and rubs against grime after every meal, it’s probably pretty gross. Replace your sponge every now and then.
Money: It’s the one thing that gets passed around from anonymous person to anonymous person, several times a day, every day. And what do some people do when they’re trying to separate a couple of ones from their wad? They lick their fingers. And then you get their saliva-enhanced money when you make change at the Wawa. Wash your hands after you count your cash. Speaking of gas stations…
Gas pump handles: On Tuesday, Deputy Commissioner of Consumer Affairs Mary Barzee Flores of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services held a news conference at which she warned consumers about consumer safety at gas stations. This was partly about credit card skimmers, though little electronic devices that crooks hide in gas pumps to steal your credit card information. But it was also partly about helping stop the spread of the new coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that businesses regularly clean frequently touched surfaces. Some gas stations even offer disposable gloves.
Office break room: If your office is like the Sun Sentinel’s, your fellow employees may be pretty good about refilling the water in the Keurig coffee maker, but cleaning out that thing is one of those jobs in which everybody assumes somebody is going to do it and therefore nobody does it. All of those surfaces in the break room that rarely get cleaned mean a build-up of germs. Keurig recommends cleaning out its coffee maker once every three to six months. They also recommend their Keurig Descaling Solution, but you can do the job with white vinegar a lot cheaper.
Touch screens: ATMs, the ordering screens at some fast food places, and any other surface that people are constantly putting their grubby little paws on can fill up with nastiness. According to the CDC, the flu virus can only survive on hands for three to five minutes, but it can survive on these surfaces for up to 48 hours. So if you go to the ATM to get money, touch the screen and then rub your face, you’re asking for a disease. Use hand sanitizer after using public touch screens.
Shopping carts: There’s a reason Publix has those antibacterial wipes next to the lines of shopping carts. Use them.
High-fives and handshakes: Many Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Miami, have suggested churches remove holy water from basins, end giving out sacramental wine during Communion and refrain from shaking hands during the “sign of peace,” among other temporary changes in an effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. If it’s good enough for God, it’s probably good enough for you — you may want to think about a wave or, at most, a fist bump. And wash your hands afterward. In fact, wash your hands often. The worst that happens is you give yourself cleaner hands.