In a recent poll conducted by Lifebuoy, 42% of participants voted that public toilets contain the most germs, second was money at 34%, followed by doorknobs at a surprising 14% and finally public transportation at 11%.

The poll which was published on CloveTWO.com and Kosmo had more than 1,300 participants.

You would be surprised to find out the amount of germs that we come into contact with every day, especially as germs are found in the most unlikely places.

Why are these places considered to be highly contaminated with germs? It is because these places and items aren’t sterilised or cleaned; instead they are left out in the open where they accumulate more germs.

Consider the public toilet – while there are cleaners paid to ensure cleanliness, do they take the proper measures to ensure the toilets are sterile? When it comes to money there are not many ways to keep it clean, however some have been known to iron their notes! As there is no way to keep money clean, people should cultivate the habit of washing their hands properly after dealing with money.

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Why is it that people do not observe proper hygiene techniques although they are aware that germs are easily transferable?

The result of the poll shows that the general public do know how dirty money is and yet we still see coffeeshop and restaurant cashiers carrying babies or children while collecting money. Can you imagine the amount of germs being transferred from the cashier to the baby?

Before we go any further, let’s understand the basics about germs – in layman’s terms, germs are tiny organisms that live in our body and cause various diseases. There are four types of germs: Bacteria, virus, fungus and protozoa.

Bacteria consist of tiny one-cell creatures that suck the nutrients from the body, and can easily reproduce regardless whether they are inside or outside our bodies. Bacteria cause the common cough, flu and fever.

Viruses, on the other hand, need to be inside a living cell in order to grow and reproduce. They are prone to spread and cause viruses like chicken pox and measles.

Take note that you can easily get infected with a virus as they can be contracted by touching doorknobs and handle bars. Fungi are multi-celled and survive on nutrition from living organisms. They are found in damp and warm environments.

public20transportWhile they are not life-threatening they can be dangerous and cause health problems like athlete’s foot and gout. Protozoa are one-celled organisms that love moisture and spread through water, multiplying by the dozens as they spread. They cause diarrhoea, nausea and stomach pains.

Consider a smaller perspective from within the vicinity of your own home. For example, the handle on your refrigerator – imagine the numerous times we open and close the refrigerator door without washing our hands.

And how about the staircase railing that everyone touches without washing their hands? These are common places where germs hide.

From the poll it is obvious that many people think doorknobs are the least germ-contaminated area, however studies have shown that doorknobs are in fact another place which is highly infested with germs.

In this case, the general perception about doorknobs seems to be wrong. Why is this so? Perhaps it is because we take doorknobs and other items for granted.

When cleaning public toilets or even our homes most of the times we use a wash cloth to get to the hard to reach areas, a mop to remove germs from the floors and a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust. These items are used to help clean but are these items clean enough? How often are these items sterilised? Are they germ free or germ infested? These are some of the points we need to assess for ourselves.

Some of us are under the impression that throwing a wash cloth and mop into a pail of hot water is enough to eliminate germs.

While heat does help, it is better to use antibacterial soap and detergents as well. While we would like to live in a germ-free environment it isn’t possible. Instead of obsessing over having a germ-free environment, focus on the proper techniques and solutions to reduce the chances of contracting germs. For example, one should think about taking showers with antibacterial soap like Lifebuoy after certain activities and also washing hands with soap more frequently especially after handling money.

There are several antibacterial soaps which ensure quality, such as Lifebuoy hand soap and Lifebuoy body wash. Lifebuoy centres on being the hygiene advocate to ensure that the public obtain quality on their way to a healthier lifestyle.

Now that you are more aware of the germs around you, there’s no reason to panic. Just make sure you practise good hygiene like washing your hands with antibacterial soap after using the toilet, before and after meals and of course taking a shower with antibacterial soap after coming home from work, the outdoors and so on. You can still live a healthy life.