Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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Don’t Touch That!

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 by Lisa Ricard Claro   No Comments Yet | Posted in AARP · germs · lemons · restaurants

Credit photo via original uploader Boston at en.wikipedia John Stephen Dwyer.
I never thought I’d hear myself say this (at least not out loud and in public), but I read AARP online this morning and thanks to the article, “Don’t Touch That! 8 Ways to Protect Yourself From Germs in Public Places” I may never eat out again. This informative piece highlights a number of germ-ridden surfaces about which we think little when we head to our favorite grazing spot for dinner and a margarita. All of these make perfect sense, but when put in the context of just how many dirty hands touch this stuff, well . . .

  • ·         Restaurant menus – Hundreds of people may touch those menus in a single day, and cold and flu viruses survive on hard surfaces up to 18 hours. Washing your hands after placing your order is recommended. Oh, yeah, and don’t let the menu touch your eating utensils, either.
  • ·         Lemon wedges – Whaaat? I always order water with lemon. What could be wrong with lemon wedges? As it turns out, plenty. “According to a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health, nearly 70 percent of the lemon wedges perched on the rims of restaurant glasses contain disease-causing microbes.” The article says more really icky stuff. Restaurant lemon wedges are not your friends.
  • ·        Condiment dispensers – Like menus, condiment dispensers are rarely washed and are touched by hundreds of hands, not all of which are as clean as your own. Here’s the scenario: The guy before you takes a potty break but doesn’t wash his hands, uses the same ketchup dispenser you pick up half an hour later. Now his germs are all over your fingers which you then use to pick up and eat your fries. Are you grimacing yet?
Also beat up were restroom door handles, soap dispensers, grocery carts, airplane bathrooms, and doctors’ offices.  To read the full article with recommendations on how to stay germ free, click HERE.
I kinda lied, because I love eating out and no germ-ridden menu or lemon wedge is going to keep me from my favorite restaurant and the stellar margaritas sent forth from their bar. But I may become that nut job the wait staff makes fun of:  “Did you see that old bagger at table 3? She put on latex gloves before picking up the menu and she has a baggie full of lemon wedges in her purse!”
Okay, so I’m teasing about the latex gloves. But the lemon wedges? I’m getting a tote for those babies. From now on, they’re traveling from home.
See you next time –

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