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Birthday cake, sponges, and other unexpected sources of germs

spring cleangermsHealth & Wellness • 2 min read • Aug 2, 2017 12:00:00 AM • Written by: Kat Smith

Throughout the day, your body is constantly defending itself against germs and harmful bacteria that can cause illnesses when they are able to overcome your immune system. Though the body has many natural defenses against the microscopic germs that linger on various surfaces, it can become overwhelmed after an encounter with a particularly germ-ridden area. When you picture the surfaces that are most likely to be covered in germs, you might not think of some of the most common germ hubs around the house, which are frequently overlooked during everyday cleaning. To protect yourself from some of the most thriving germ hangouts around your home or office, take a look at these tips for fighting back against the unexpected sources of germs.

Don’t blow out the candles on your birthday cake

In the spirit of celebration, it only seems right to blow out your birthday candles and make a wish, but in doing so, you can spread tons of germs and bacteria onto the cake that’s about to be enjoyed. In fact, blowing out the candles increases the presence of bacteria by about 1400%, and this can be particularly harmful if you’re just getting over an illness and are still contagious. Dead set on making a birthday wish? Consider purchasing a separate (and smaller) cupcake to adorn with candles.

Sanitize your sponges

Have you ever picked up a damp sponge and noticed a musty aroma? That scent is a combination of mold, mildew, and bacteria that can multiply quickly in the dampened nooks and crannies of the soft sponge. This scent should signal you to throw out the sponge and grab a new one, but you can make sponges last longer by sanitizing them between each use. The microwave is the most effective method of zapping harmful germs, but a trip through the dishwasher or a soak in bleach can work if you don’t have a microwave.

Clean your cutting boards

If you had to guess which object would be dirtier between a cutting board and a toilet seat, you’d probably think the answer is obvious. However, research has shown that the bathroom is often cleaner than many surfaces in the kitchen, because people think to sanitize this area more frequently. Cutting boards are often overlooked during deep cleanings, so those used to cut meats and perishable foods are often full of bacteria.

Move your toothbrush holder

Though you probably remember to clean and sanitize your bathroom more often than certain parts of the kitchen, it’s still possible to find germs hiding in this room. The toothbrush holder is one of the most commonly under-cleaned bathroom features, and it can pick up a great deal of bacteria with every flush of the toilet. To avoid this cringe-worthy exposure to trace amounts of fecal matter, move the toothbrush holder as far away from the toilet as possible – or better yet, store in your medicine cabinet! You should also wash the holder, replace toothbrushes often, and consider a dip in antimicrobial rinse before letting the bristles dry after each use.

Remove your rubber spatula heads

For most dishes, a trip through the dishwasher is enough to get them clean and sanitized. Rubber spatulas, however, may hold on to bacteria, because they are often constructed with removable heads, under which germs can hide. Before washing these kitchen tools, pull the head off the handle so that the entire spatula gets clean.

If you do get sick from handling germy surfaces, MeMD can help you feel better faster with the healthcare you need from anywhere, anytime. Request an exam online 24/7/365.

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Kat Smith