Considering the millions of germs that we encounter in public spaces every day, it’s a wonder that we don’t fall ill more often. It’s best to be cautious however, and being aware of the hazards can help to ward off being attacked by germs that are lying in wait in these less-suspected areas.

  1. Restaurant Menus. According to Charles Gerbo, Microbiologist at the University of Arizona, restaurant menus carry a hundred times more bacteria than a toilet seat. In a 24-hour span, they’re touched by hundreds of people but are wiped clean only sometimes, and that too, with a used rag. It’s recommended that you wash your hands after ordering rather than before sitting down; or keep wet wipes handy when you go out for a meal.

2. Public soap pumps are a residence germs love to hang out on. They’re ideal breeding ground for bacteria simply because of the number of not-too-clean hands that touch them round the clock. Doctors advise at least 20 seconds of brisk washing in a public washroom, or even better, carry a little bottle of sanitizer to avoid them altogether.

3. ATM machines are a favorite haunt of germs, as are currency notes, and revolving doors at the bank entrance. Doctors say the flu virus can survive up to 17 days on a currency note. Here’s a tip, when using an ATM push the buttons with a pen instead of using your fingers.

4. Another button that we use frequently without realizing what a hotbed of germs it is, is in the office or apartment elevator. You can literally ‘lift up’ thousands of germs with one press of the button. Again, try pressing with a pen or any object you’re carrying instead of your finger.

5. Shopping cart handles in supermarkets pose another health hazard. You’ll be picking up more than just groceries if you’re not careful, because no one really cleans the trolleys despite the fact that so many customers use them every day. Use a wet wipe to remove at least the surface germs before you grip those handles.