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I’m not exactly a germaphobe—or at least I wasn’t until last week.
That’s when the “Today Show” came out with an appetizing breakfast-time report about our nasty vacuum cleaners.
Now, it seems, we not only have to worry about tainted remote controls, dirty doorknobs and bedbugs lurking in hotel beds, we also should be plenty concerned about the muck we’re spreading every time we think we’re cleaning our carpets.
In case you’re having your own breakfast, I won’t go into detail except to say you might want to drop everything ASAP, toss out your shoes that are probably coated with fecal matter and hire a fumigator to sanitize your floors and therefore your mind (to help maintain “sanity”).
You also might want to throw away or thoroughly boil your vacuum cleaner, which has a tendency to be contaminated with the same yucky stuff picked up off the soles of your discarded shoes. A microbiologist’s up-close examination proved it.
Our only hope in the world, according to one handy P.R. release that’s come out since that report, is David Oreck. He’s the inventor of the Oreck vacuum cleaner and its subsequent high-tech cousin, the Oreck U7000, renowned for its ability to trap germs and prevent them from spewing back out into your house.
The machine probably costs a pretty penny, but ol’ Dave and his dealers say it’s worth it, as does the Carpet and Rug Institute of Dalton, Ga. (What a team.)
Another report stated women’s hands harbor even more bacteria than men’s do. (Why didn’t they just say “cooties”?)
The vague reasons for this may have something to do with differences in acidity, sweat- and oil-gland production and hormones.
When an expert was asked whether guys should now worry about holding girls’ hands, his attempt-at-humor answer was, “I guess it depends on which girl!”
At the onset of 2008-2009 flu season, we also need to be wary of supermarket shopping carts, which one report said have a tendency to be dirtier than public toilets.
In the future, if you should find yourself gingerly pushing one of these filth-magnets-on-wheels around the store, preferably with a set of freshly sterilized tongs, don’t forget to throw in some hand sanitizer.
Public handrails, according to one study, are the biggest germ-spreaders of all, so handle them with care, too, and a nice, thick pair of hospital gloves.
Playgrounds were cited as the second biggest source of bad bugs. Thank God my kids have outgrown playgrounds, are grown and gone and hanging out in cleaner places like overseas military barracks and co-ed dormitories.
No germs to worry about there, right?
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.