Five Surprising Germ Hotspots

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How often do you hear “there’s something going around” during these chilly months? It’s safe to say that nobody is a stranger to brutal winter colds. We’ve armed you with our beloved zinc lozenges and oral spray to fight the common cold, but here’s more armor: a list of surprisingly germy hotspots, and how you can reduce your risk of picking up anything from ’em. Check out what made the cut– we bet you’ll be as surprised as we were!

Restaurant Menus

Eating out is generally a special event (okay, or reserved for those times when we just can’t cook yet another meal). But you may feel less festive when you think of this: it’s possible that hundreds of people have handled the menu before you without so much as a waitstaff wipe-down. To help avoid contamination and stay healthy, make sure that you don’t let your menu touch your plate or silverware when you’re ordering. Of course, it’s always a wise idea to wash your hands before eating – just make sure that when you’re dining out, you wash before eating, but after ordering, when the menus have been safely stashed away! (Source:


The Lemon Wedge in Your Drink

Think twice the next time you want to order a Diet Coke with lemon, or a cocktail with a twist. A 2008 study by New Jersey scientist Ann LaGrange Loving studied 76 lemon wedges at restaurants. Her shocking discovery? A full 2/3 of them were contaminated with a total of 25 different types of germs. And each microorganism that was found had the potential to cause actual infections. So – while there may be nothing quite like that refreshing citrus flavor – the choice is an easy one: steer clear of lemon wedges when you’re dining out.  (Source:


Shopping Cart Handles

When grocery shopping, chances are you’re thinking about what you’re going to cook this week, not about germs. But saliva, bacteria, and fecal matter have all been found on shopping cart handles. Like many of the germy hotspots that make our list, shopping carts quite literally change hands many, many times a day. The germ factor increases exponentially if they’ve happened to come into contact with raw foods. Luckily, though, there’s a quick fix – either grab a disinfectant wipe that many grocery stores leave out, or make a habit of bringing wipes with you when you’re hitting the supermarket. One quick swipe in the name of cold prevention, and you should be good to hit the aisles!  (Source:


Hotel Bedspreads

After checking into a nice hotel, your first urge may be to flop down on the big, luxurious bed. We say: resist that urge. While it’s safe to assume that the sheets are freshly laundered, the bathrooms are cleaned, and most major surfaces (like nightstands and desks) have been wiped off, hotels don’t generally clean their duvet covers after every guest checks out.  Perhaps shoving yours in a closet upon arrival is best; if you’re cold, ask housekeeping for a blanket (also likely to have been cleaned more recently).  (Source:


Gadget Shops

Think about the last time you went to buy a new phone or MP3 player. Then think about how you held that phone up to your ear, or thumbed through the buttons, or tested out the sound. Then picture the hundreds, if not thousands of other ears, fingers, and hands that did the same as you, on the very same machines. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Microbiology found that bacteria transfers especially easily through glass, like – gulp – the shiny tops of smartphones or tablets. So before you start browsing, grab a disinfectant wipe to make sure you’re in the clear!  (Source:

Tell us: which of these places were you most surprised to learn is a very germ-friendly zone?