Now that the Christmas shopping season is in full swing, I know many of you will soon be scurrying over to your local mall and scrummage around the jumbled maze of shopping racks and endless aisles of toys and gadgets, madly hunting for that perfect gift. But please, BEWARE! Massive crowds of shoppers combined with the blistering winter chill results is the perfect recipe for the unwelcome transmission of germs and viruses. And I’m sure the last thing you want is to be groggy and miserable over the holidays.
So here is a list compiled by Health.com of the Top 8 Germiest Places in the Mall. Mind you, anywhere people gather is always going to swarming with bacteria and viruses – these are just the places where you should be extra careful!
8. Makeup Samples
Ladies, maybe think twice before you reach for that lipstick sample. Studies show that makeup-counter testers are hotbeds for sickly germs ranging from E. coli to staph and strep. Oh the price of beauty!
7. Gadget Shops
Innocently tinkering around with the latest smartphone or tablet may in fact prove harmful to your health. Although most retailers regularly clean their equipment, this certainly does not stop the odd ‘Sneezy Bob’ or ‘Nose-picker Joe’ from wiping their grimy fingers all over the device.
6. Fitting Rooms
For those dirty minds out there, this doesn’t just apply to clothing below the belt. Health.com reveals that whatever the item, “after people try on clothing, skin cells and perspiration can accumulate on the inside… [and] both can serve as food for bacterial growth.” Yuck!
5. Toy Stores
Apparently kids these days play with toys a bit differently than I did as a child. Nowadays, children are known to roll them on their heads, smoosh them against their faces, smear their sticky hands all over them and even lick them. And this is even before they take it home.
4. ATM Keypads
Of course, ATMs are in high demand these days as shoppers hastily withdraw their hard-earned dollars to nab that latest holiday deal. If you must, try to “knuckle” the keys instead of using your fingertips as your knuckles are less likely to come in contact with your nose and mouth.
3. Escalator Handrails
Yet another reason why we should take the stairs. According to Health.com, testing showed that these filthy surfaces may contain traces of “food, E. coli, urine, mucus, feces, and blood.” Okay, is anyone as grossed out as I am?
2. Food Court Tables
Next time you accidentally drop one of your tater tots on the table, please, skip the five-second rule this time. These surfaces in particular play host to an assortment of harmful bacteria and are hotspots for contracting germs. Even if you see it being scrubbed down, it certainly does not mean its clean. Let’s face it, all that was done was the dirt was rearranged by a soggy rag.
1. Restroom Sinks
Need I say more? Not only are they the first things people touch after doing their business (hopefully), but the moist and damp environment is optimal for germ survival. They may as well be called festering bacterial collection bowls.
So please, remember to take extra precaution during the holiday shopping season and avoid interacting with these these common bacterial hotspots to ensure a jolly, germ-free Christmas. And to all those crazy Christmas shoppers out there, rather than arming yourself with a can of pepper-spray, try hand sanitizer instead.