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Which Public Places Are The Dirtiest?


Bacteria and germs are everywhere, even on our bodies. Most of them aren’t harmful, but it is important to practice good public hygiene so you don’t expose yourself to unnecessary, potentially harmful pathogens. Sometimes it is easy to become complacent while going about our daily business but little precautions can go a long way in preventing illness. Let’s take a look at some of the germiest places we regularly frequent:

  1. Gas stations – In one study by researchers at the University of Arizona, 71% of sampled gas pump handles were contaminated with dangerous microbes that could lead to illness. The gas station is a spot most of us don’t even think twice about while we go about our daily errands – it pays to wash up well after any public outing.
  2. Hospitals and clinics – Higher than normal numbers of sick people are constantly filtering in and out of hospitals and clinics, many of whom are highly contagious. No matter how diligent the janitorial staff in these facilities may be, it would be impossible to stay on top of all those germs 24/7. Try not to touch many surfaces while in clinics, and use hand sanitizer after you do touch things.
  3. Schools – Unfortunately, schools are hotbeds of illness as germs spread from child to child quickly and easily, especially in younger grades. It is difficult to ensure your child doesn’t catch a cold or come in contact with harmful bacteria like E. coli in schools, but you can teach them the importance of thorough hand washing with warm water and soap after using the washroom or after activities like gym or art class, and especially before they eat their lunch or recess to help cut down on germ over-exposure. It is also a good idea to make sure your child doesn’t pick up habits like nail biting which will enable them to lead all the germs they touch directly to their mouths.
  4. Grocery stores One recent study surmises that there is a 72% chance the grocery cart you choose will have fecal matter on it – gross! If that doesn’t make you want to wipe down most publicly used items before using them, what will?
  5. Banks ATM machine buttons have shown to be highly contaminated as well, which makes sense considering hundreds of people use some of those machines daily and areas of the machines are likely hard to clean since they are electronic. Try using hand sanitizer right after a bank or ATM visit to neutralize some of those creepy crawlies.
  6. Fitness centers – Shared equipment like yoga mats or machines are choc-full of other people’s sweat and bacteria and can facilitate the spread of infectious skin fungi and other issues.

Other Germy Public Hotspots

Germ-alicious honorable mentions include:

  • Restaurants
  • Public transport
  • Arcades
  • Office buildings
  • Shopping centers

Bottom Line on Germy Spots

Most any public area will be highly contaminated so It is always a good idea to carry sanitizing wipes in your purse or pocket and wipe down communally used items like restaurant tables. If you want to go the extra mile in avoiding excess bugs, you can pass on leafing through communal magazines in waiting areas and opt to at your own book or phone instead. Lastly, it is smart to bring hand sanitizer with you when in public in case you can’t get to a rest room to wash your hands (or wish to avoid dirty sinks in said washrooms). Having said all this, there is no need to drive yourself to stress over germs – they exist everywhere and most of them are fine, but it is good to be mindful and practice these little tips to avoid unwanted infections or issues.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you haven’t already, check out our post “7 of The Germiest Items You Use Daily” next! We hope to see you again soon.