Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shop healthy: Combatting the eight germiest places in the mall

Here's my contribution to your safe and healthy holiday season. 
Avoiding viruses and bacteria that cause colds, stomach bugs, and flu starts by arming yourself with knowledge. Stashing a few sanitizers helps too. During this hectic time of year, it pays to slow down and pay attention to a few small steps that can save you a lot of recovery time.

CNN Health ran a story on the "8 germiest places in the mall." Below are the highlights:
  1. Restroom sinks - The filthiest area in the restroom is the bathroom sink. Stay aware of the type of soap dispensers (are they refillable?) and wash your hands thoroughly. Use a paper towel to turn off the water and open the door. If any of these things are not available, follow up with at least a tablespoon of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Food court tables - Stash a pack of hard-surface disinfecting wipes so that you can clean the table before you sit down.
  3. Escalator handrails - Avoid touching handrails. If you absolutely have to, follow with hand sanitizer.
  4. ATM keypads - Knuckle ATM buttons to avoid getting germs on your fingertips, where they are more likely to transfer to your nose and mouth, and follow with hand sanitizer.
  5. Toy stores - If you make a purchase, wipe down any toy not in a sealed package with soap and water, alcohol, or vinegar before giving it to your child. Also, use your hand sanitizer after touching things in the toy isle; that goes for your child too.
  6. Fitting rooms - The clothes you try on are the germ culprit here. When trying on clothes, always wear full-coverage underwear and bandage cuts or scrapes before trying on clothes. Be sure to wash new clothes before you wear them.
  7. Gadget shops - Avoid transferring germs from the people who tested the new smartphone before you by quickly wiping it down with a disinfecting wipe. Once again, use a hand sanitizer when you're done.
  8. Makeup samples - Avoid public makeup samples. Ask for a single-use unit. If that's not available, use a tissue to wipe off the sample and then apply the product to the back of your hand. Even better, buy the product before you try. Returning is more hassle but also a lot safer.
I'll add my own tip: Shop online from the comfort and safety of your own computer. If you can't do that, or if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping mall experience, take a deep breath, grab your sanitizer wipes and hand sanitizer, and enjoy. Above all, don't forget to slow down enough to enjoy quality time with your family; that's what the holidays are all about.

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