By now, you've probably heard how gross your cell phone is: In one recent study done in Northern Ireland, almost ALL the cell phones they tested had bacteria growing on them. And so did almost all the OFFICE phones they checked.
--Forbes.com has a list of the most germ-filled things we encounter on a daily basis. Some of them are obvious, like grocery carts and bathroom door handles. Here are the top five you might not think about.
#1.) Gas Pumps. According to one study, 71% of them are contaminated with germs. The best defense is just to keep some hand sanitizer in the car.
#2.) Restaurant Menus. They hardly ever get wiped down. That's why you shouldn't wash your hands until AFTER you've ordered.
--The same thing goes for the little drink menus they sometimes have sitting on the table. If you flip through it, you should wash your hands again.
#3.) Lemon and Lime Wedges. Researchers for the "Journal of Environmental Health" went to various restaurants and ordered 21 different drinks that came with either a lemon or a lime.
--They found a total of 25 different microorganisms living in them, including E. coli bacteria.
#4.) Escalators. According to a study done in New York City, they're basically covered in bacteria that can cause respiratory infections. And you can expect the same from handrails on busses, trains, and stairways.
#5.) Condiment Dispensers. That includes things like ketchup bottles and salt & pepper shakers. They're almost never cleaned, and most people don't wash their hands before they eat.
--Apparently picking them up with a napkin doesn't really help either, because bacteria can go right through it. So you either need to use hand sanitizer, or wash your hands afterward.