80% of disease is caught by direct or indirect contact – either interacting with a person who carries germs or touching a surface where those organisms live.”
Philip Tierno, PhD director of clinical microbiology at New York University Medical School
Germs come from us and places used or visited by lots of people will have a lot of microbes. Since germs can live on surfaces from hours to months, they can be transferred from person-to-person or surface-to-surface.
Many of these encounters can be mitigated with simple safeguards.
Let’s review your typical commute to work or travel day along with tips to help avoid some of the more common hotspots for germs.
YOUR DAILY COMMUTE. “If you commute via bus or subway, you are six times more likely to get sick than if you walk or drive. Why? Simply because you come into contact with many more people and their germs”, says Charles Gerba, Microbiologist at University of Arizona.
Tips: Sanitize and/or wash your hands thoroughly after exiting the bus or metro. The CDC recommends lathering hands with soap and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.
PLANES & TRAINS. Like most public transportation, airplanes (and trains) are filled with germs. There’s no getting around that. Whenever you pack a lot of people in a tight space for a few hours – especially one with limited air flow – germ buildup is inevitable.
What to watch out for?
- Seat Pockets: Studies show that seat pockets are one of the worst offenders when it comes to germs. Why? Passengers use seat pockets as a trash bin rather than a storage holder. From used tissues to dirty diapers, people stuff all kinds of germ-infested materials into seat pockets. Auburn University researchers found MRSA could survive in the seat pocket material for up to 168 hours. Theoretically, that’s a lot of time for multiple passengers to contract this menacing infection.
TIP: If you need somewhere to stash your water bottle or device, avoid the seat pocket. It’s just not worth the risk. Stow your things in a protective carry-on bag with silver-ion technology that destroys germs or, if they’re small enough, store your essentials like a smartphone in a pouch that protects from germ contamination. The Bennett Bag Carry All and the ZipPocket from ThePureBag are ideal for toting your travel items.
- Touchscreen Entertainment System: You can select from hundreds of movies, games and music options. But this entertainment comes with a price. Nearly everyone who sat in your seat before you touched that screen and who knows where their hands had been before that.
TIP: Bring your own entertainment —a book, a laptop or smartphone. If you still want to watch a movie on the screen, be sure to avoid touching your face after using the screen and use lots of hand sanitizer.
HOTELS. When you stay in a hotel room, you’re in a room where hundreds and perhaps thousands of people have stayed. Surfaces, fixtures and remotes at hotels are constantly being touched by numerous people from guests to staff. It’s important to take precautions.
The germiest spots?
- Always carry disinfecting wipes when traveling and use on all surfaces before touching or placing your personal items on counters or surfaces in hotels.
- Apply hand sanitizer to clean your hands and wash your hands frequently.
- Keep your personal and business items protected from germs. Use ThePureBag® Bennett Bag Carry All, ZP CrossBody, ZipPocket and the Eco-Cinch Bags to fend off germs.
ThePureBag products’ silver-ion embedded fabric not only sparkles, it protects the bag itself and your personal items inside by destroying bacteria, fungus, mold, mildew and other gross stuff. You can place these bags on any surface – on the subway, in a plane or in a hotel without worry of tracking germs into your office, car or home.