With the weather changing daily, and the warmer temperatures bringing more people out of their homes, the chance of getting sick rises. And when you head off to work or the gym first thing in the morning, germs are probably the last thing on your mind. But on average, a person may touch up to 30 objects in under a minute, ranging from light switches to door knobs to the inside of your purse or gym bag - and all of those objects have the potential to harbor germs. So follow these tips to stay as germ-free as possible this spring so you can keep up the great work you've started on living a healthy lifestyle!
When you’re at home, it’s easier to avoid bacteria and other germs because you can clean things yourself and know about the state of health your family is in. There’s no way of knowing how thoroughly your office, the locker room or your workout equipment has been cleaned and sanitized, though. So keep these helpful tips in mind as you go about your day.
In the Workplace
Did you know that an average office keyboard can contain 60 times more germs than a toilet seat or a light switch can develop? Let's look at some ways you can avoid germs at work:
Wash Your Hands
You may think this goes without saying, however many of us only wash our hands after using the bathroom or before we prepare a meal. Additionally, you should also be washing them before eating, after using shared or communal items and after sneezing, coughing or coming into contact with mucous membranes.
Carry a Sanitizer
If you’re worried that visiting the restroom to wash your hands so regularly will interrupt your productivity, carrying a miniature bottle of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer will allow you to clean your hands at the convenience of your desk. These handy gels kill 99.9% of bacteria, need no water and quickly dry without the need for a towel or tissue.
Try Not to Share
This may go against everything you were taught as a child, but try to avoid sharing in the workplace! Keep your pens, food, phone and stationery to yourself, perhaps keeping a pack of spare pens in your drawer to give your co-workers if needed. This is especially important if you know someone in your office has been sick recently.
At the Gym
All of the above tips can be applied when you're at the gym, but gyms have places and things that stay damp and provide environments where bacteria love to grow. Here's how to stay germ-free at the gym:
Wipe Down Your Equipment
This should be standard practice after you finish using a machine or other equipment, but to be on the safe side, wipe down the equipment before you use it, too, just in case the previous user wasn't as thorough. Many gyms and sports clubs will offer wipes or paper towels and a spray for this purpose. If yours doesn't, just carry a pack of disinfectant wipes in your bag.
Protect Open Skin
If you've got any healing broken skin - a cut, graze, scrape or anything else - make absolutely sure it's sufficiently protected and covered. Because sweat can seep into the bandage, after your workout, remove it and clean the area underneath before applying a fresh bandage.
Keep Your Feet Covered
Locker rooms are often associated with the risk of athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that causes itching, stinging and burning sensations on the feet and between the toes.
It’s usually experienced by those who work out, due to sweaty socks and the tight space and poor breathability of a sneaker or training shoe. People who have athlete's foot and walk barefoot through the locker room may spread the bacteria without knowing it on the floors, tiles, mats, towels. So pack a pair of flip-flops and use them in the shower or anytime you're walking across a floor with uncovered feet. If you're taking a yoga class or other workout class where bare feet are recommended, invest in some non-slip yoga socks.
Bring Your Own Towel
Many clubs provide clean towels for their members, but if yours doesn't you will definitely want to bring one from home. Being able to cleanly wipe yourself down during a workout is key, and you'll keep yourself from unknowingly spreading germs, too. If you're nervous about using a towel provided by the gym, bring your own freshly washed towel from home.
You might feel like a germophobe by taking so many precautions, but staying healthy is important to maintain the momentum you've built up in staying on track and making good choices for improving your fitness and your life!