Tag Archives: household hazards

7 of the Germiest Items You Use Daily

Do you ever stop to think about just how much harmful bacteria you come in contact daily? Turns out, more than most of us could imagine! Let’s take a look at how germy some of our most-used household items can get:

  1. TV and DVD remotes – A 2012 study revealed 8 times more bacteria on hotel room TV remotes than public toilets! Wow. Be sure to sanitize those remotes before using them.
  2. Bedding – sheets and pillowcases are rife with bacteria from excess sweat, saliva, dead skin cells and more. Try to cover your pillows in allergen casings and wash your bedding frequently in hot water.
  3. Knobs and handles – studies show that kitchen knobs and handles are covered in thousands of bacteria, many of which are harmful. Your kitchen faucet’s handle alone harbors 13,227 bacteria per square inch! Cross contamination from inadequate hand washing while preparing raw meat products is primarily to blame, so be sure to wash thoroughly each time you handle raw meat.
  4. Bathtub – There are typically over 100,000 bacteria per square inch hiding in your bathtub near the drain. Be sure to thoroughly wash your bathtub every few days or else you may come out of the tub dirtier than when you got in!
  5. Household mats pick up all kinds of dirt from our (extremely) dirty shoes and feet daily. The bathroom mat is especially full of germs because it lies on a wet bathroom floor which really encourages bacteria to flourish. Try to wash your mats weekly on the highest heat setting with bleach to kill those micro-crawlies.
  6. Kitchen cloths and sponges – a recent study found over 10 million bacteria per square inch on kitchen sponges, and about 1 million per square inch on cloths! Those are some pretty unnerving statistics. It is important to wash all sponges and dish cloths at over 140 degrees Fahrenheit regularly to kill the numerous bacteria.
  7. Smartphone devices – You have no idea just how dirty the little device that is oh-so-close to your heart really is. One study found 600 units per swab of Staphylococcus aureus on an iPad and 140 units on a smartphone, much more than the average 20 units per swab on a toilet seat.

Pretty gross, hey? Well stay tuned next for some of the germiest public places, along with some advice to cut down on germ exposure. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Remember, our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 for any health concerns you may have!

Household Toxins To Hide From Tiny Hands

As this is National Poison Awareness Week, we thought household poisons would be a good topic to tackle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 300 American children are sent to emergency rooms every day from poisoning, resulting in least 2 daily fatalities.


Pesticides are used on food and plants to fend off pests like rodents, bugs and bacteria. Harsher pesticides are also used on lawns and shrubbery to control weeds. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), almost half of surveyed households with small children stored toxic pesticides such as weed killer in accessible low-level cabinets where they could be found by small children. Luckily when it comes to ingesting pesticides on fruit and veggies, the EPA has very stringent standards and imposes minimal use, especially on foods children eat most of like grapes. However, pesticides on foods can still be harmful to young children. 

Household hazards

Household hazards are products meant for indoor use that have flammable, corrosive or toxic ingredients that can catch fire, burn skin or even kill someone who ingests them. Even though it is common knowledge that bleach is hazardous, it is still often kept in open areas where thousands of children are exposed to and poisoned by it annually. Laundry and dishwasher pods are very dangerous to small children as well, as the vibrant colours can resemble candy. These pods have proved fatal to small children. Disinfectants, household cleaners and flea shampoos are also toxic and account for many poison-related emergency visits.

Who Is At Risk?

While anyone is at risk of being poisoned, young children are especially vulnerable because of their developing organs combined with the fact they may not realize something is unsafe until they eat or touch it. Pregnant women are also at particular risk because toxins absorbed by a mother permeate through the placenta putting baby at risk of disabilities, diseases or even death.

Button Batteries

Coin size lithium batteries are another very dangerous item for children that parents often overlook. In nearly 30 years there have been over 73,500 button battery ingestions which have caused at least 18 deaths and multiple serious injuries. These batteries can be found in common household items such as musical cards, small remotes, flashlights, laser pointers and battery operated candles. A recent study by Energizer and Safe Kids USA found that a shocking 66% of parents were unaware of the danger of button batteries, so please pass this information on to any parents you know with young children.

Dire Repercussions 

There have been several documented news stories interviewing distraught parents after their child ingested one of these batteries. A particularly tragic story involved an eight-month old boy who ate a lithium battery unbeknownst to his mother, which was initially misdiagnosed as bronchitis as it slowly eroded inside him. When his mother took him back to the emergency room, the battery had already done major irreversible damage by burning a hole clear through his esophagus and trachea, requiring over 30 surgeries. The boy may never speak or breathe unassisted again. Unfortunately, initially battery ingestion presents as cold-like symptoms such as sore throat, wheezing and coughing so it often goes undiagnosed until the symptoms progress and internal destruction has already begun.

Tips To Keep A Safe Home

Parents do their best to protect their little ones, but cannot possibly see every potential danger or watch every move their child makes. It is important that parents don’t beat themselves up about little things they’ve missed in the past, but instead take as many precautions as possible to ensure a safe home for little ones including:

  1. Double-lock your poisons! Too many households harbour toxic substances in unlocked, low cupboards. Putting toxic items in childproof bins in locked cupboards would ensure double safety from curious little beings.
  2. Steer clear of the ‘danger’ symbol – buy less harsh chemicals. Fortunately, nowadays there are countless non-toxic household cleaners available for parents.
  3. Scrub fruits and veggies – washing them well can lift off many pesticides, especially if you use a combination of baking soda and warm water.
  4. Tape or screw your devices shut that have small batteries, or buy devices without button batteries if you have very small children.
  5. Keep important numbers handypoison control number: 1-800-222-1222 and other essentials like 911 and fire safety should be written some place accessible to everyone in the house. Teach your young children how to call these numbers just in case.

Stay safe and happy! Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you’ll be back again soon.