6 Germ Hot Spots in Hotel Rooms?
I read with interest an article highlighting the six places in hotel rooms where germs abound, which was written by Megan Griffith-Greene of the Canadian Broadcasting Company — or CBC News — last October.
According to that article, the six germ hot spots include:
1. REMOTE CONTROLS
How to avoid, according to the article: Bag it! Put the remote in a plastic bag. The signal will still work, and you’re protected.
My thoughts: If a shower cap is provided in the hotel room, you can use that. I would assume that the plastic bag referenced in the article is either the plastic bag located inside of the ice bucket or the laundry bag usually provided in most hotel rooms — although I am sure you can bring your own plastic bag if you are so inclined.
How to avoid, according to the article: Remove the decorative throw and cushions from your bed; they may not have been replaced in some time. If your sheets look like they haven’t been replaced, call the front desk.
My thoughts: The decorative throw does not have to be removed from the bed as long as there are clean bedsheets separating you from that decorative throw. After all, what if you tend to get cold easily — or what if you simply sleep better covered with a heavier blanket? Then again — and I am surprised that the article does not mention this — you should be vigilant about looking out for any infestation of bed bugs. As for the cushions, I always remove them from the bed, as I never really understood their purpose.
3. BATHROOM FAUCETS AND COUNTER
How to avoid, according to the article: Bring alcohol wipes with you and wipe down surfaces such as faucet handles where you could easily pick up germs.
My thoughts: I use either clean towels or tissues to cover the surface of the counter; and I place my toiletries on top of them. I also do not use the first couple of tissues from the opened tissue box. I use tissues only when I know the items will not be wet; and I place the tissues at the farthest end of the counter away from the faucet. Sometimes I may place a couple of layers of tissues — but I rarely use more than two tissues for this purpose. Once I am finished with the towels or tissues, I will use them to wipe the counter top.
4. COFFEE MAKERS
How to avoid, according to the article: Skip the in-room coffee option and grab your joe to go from a nearby cafe. If you want to use the machines, run through with hot water a few times to make sure it’s clean. And if you’re using hotel mugs, it’s a good idea to wash these first as well.
My thoughts: I do not drink coffee; but on rare occasions during the winter, I do enjoy a hot chocolate. If I want hot water and a microwave oven is available — either in the room or in a common area such as a hotel lobby — I will put the contents in a disposable cup designed to hold hot liquids and use the microwave oven.
5. ICE BUCKETS
How to avoid, according to the article: Many hotel chains provide plastic bags to hold ice; if yours is missing, call the front desk.
My thoughts: How do you know the ice from the ice machine is clean in the first place? Fortunately, I prefer not to have my drinks iced down, so I avoid them anyway for drinking purposes. It is probably better to use that plastic bag provided for the ice bucket to be used instead for the remote control to the television.
How to avoid, according to the article: Alcohol wipes on the handset, buttons and mouthpiece will help sanitize a phone, or skip the landline altogether and stick to your cell phone.
My thoughts: Who uses the telephone inside of a hotel room anymore? I usually do not order room service; and if I absolutely need to use the telephone — well, that is where those first couple of tissues from the opened tissue box come in quite handy.
What if I were to tell you that the entire list above can be considered absolutely and completely useless — as long as you wash your hands properly?
As I wrote in this article which I posted only five days ago:
“While I realize that there is no need to be a germaphobe or a mysophobe — as the defense system of the human body can be remarkably efficient in thwarting off carriers of diseases — I still prefer to take what I consider to be reasonable precautions to ensure that my health does not suffer…
“…and the worst ‘disease’ I have suffered over at least the past ten years is a minor cold or rare headache at best. Why take chances?”
The reason to which I attribute is proper washing of my hands; and one study suggests that many people do not wash their hands properly. I have trained myself not to rub my eyes or touch vulnerable parts of my body after I have handled an object which may be suspect in terms of cleanliness until after I have properly washed my hands — and here are some suggestions on how to properly wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean running water — warm or cold, although I prefer warm to hot — and apply soap
- Rub your hands together to create a lather and be sure to throughly scrub well the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
- Continue rubbing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds; and you can hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice if you are unable to time yourself
- Rinse your hands well under running water
- Dry your hands using a clean towel, a hand dryer; or simply air dry
I am amazed that the drinking glasses provided by the hotel room did not appear on the above list. I would be concerned about that more than anything else on the list. Please read this article I posted last year for what could be an eye-opener for you.
What are your thoughts pertaining to germ hot spots in hotel rooms — and what do you do to protect yourself, if anything?