The Germ-ridden Places We Touch Every Day

People touch thousands of surfaces every day, not realising that pressing each button, opening each door or grabbing a hand rail transfers millions of bacteria to their bodies.

But with the cold and flu season gripping the UK in addition to people spending more time socialising at parties or Christmas shopping, it is even more important to remain diligent when keeping sanitary practices.

The first step is knowing what objects are the most germ-infested.

Kimberly Clarke, the manufacturer of bathroom soap dispensers, tested everyday objects outside of the home to create a list of the top contaminated items.

The study by Kimberly Clarke found that petrol pumps revealed the worst results with 71 per cent of those swabbed showing high levels of contamination.

Following that were escalator rails and cash point buttons at 43 percent showing high risk of spreading illness.

Third in the list were parking meters or kiosks measuring at 40 per cent followed by both crosswalk buttons and vending machines at 35 per cent.

Add these items to the areas listed in Prevention Magazine’s Top 5, which included menus, lemon wedges (served with drinks), condiment dispensers, toilet door handles and bathroom soap dispensers, and it appears nowhere is safe from the germ infestation.

“We are surrounded by germs all the time,” said Cynthia L. Chappell, a public health professor at the University of Texas.

“There’s nothing around us in our environment that is sterile. The highest numbers of germs are in the places that we touch all the time.”

The goal for Kimberly Clarkes study was to make people more aware of their hygiene habits.

Kelly Arehart, program leader for the Healthy Workplace Project at Kimberly-Clark, said: “It’s not only about you getting sick. It’s sharing with your co-workers, and co-workers potentially taking it home to their families.”

“People may have newborns or elderly parents at home they may be caring for. You are kind of a vector for them”

“Your hands are a pretty significant factor in these transmissions, and if we can get people on board with proper hygiene practices, we can curb an awful lot of things in the world that kind of make us nervous.”