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Know the facts about germs

Germs are all around us, and they’re the cause of a number of illnesses and ailments. What’s not so clear is where germs come from and how they end up in our bodies.

Most often, a person collects germs by touching a surface that has germs on it and then touching their nose, eyes or mouth. This direct contact is often how germs get in the body and how illnesses like COVID-19 and influenza spread.

We’re all aware of the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., and 5 to 20 percent of Americans contract the flu every year. Germs can also travel from one person to another through the air as we inhale, exhale, cough or sneeze.  

There are a lot of rumors and misinformation out there. Understanding the facts about how germs are spread – and how they’re not – will help you take better care of yourself and your loved ones.

Here are three common myths about germs.

Myth 1: The five-second rule eliminates germ risks

We really want to believe the five-second rule makes it safe to eat a bit of food or use a dropped utensil. It doesn’t. The floor is a hotbed of bacteria and germs from people and pets, and it only takes a second for bacteria to attach to an object once it hits the floor.

You don’t want to transfer those germs directly into your mouth and risk a visit to urgent care with flu symptoms or worse. Throw the food out or wash the spoon or fork before using it.

Myth 2: Antibacterial soap is more effective than regular soap

Don’t spend the extra money for a product that promises added protection. Antibacterial and traditional liquid soap have the same properties, and both will sanitize your hands. But either product will only effectively kills germs if you diligently practice proper handwashing techniques.

A simple lather and rinse won’t do the trick. To kill germs, wash your hands under warm water for at least 20 seconds, working the soap between fingers, under nails and around your wrists.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should always wash your hands after you’ve been in a public place and exposed to items or surfaces frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts or electronic cash registers/screens. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.  

Myth 3: Toilet seats are the worst offenders

They seem really gross, but toilet seats actually have far fewer germs than other commonly touched surfaces in a home, such as doorknobs, remote controls, keyboards and light switches. Also, you probably clean the toilet seat far more often than those sometimes-forgotten spots. On your next cleaning spree, be sure to sanitize all frequently touched surfaces in your home.

Visiting Indigo Health amid COVID-19 concerns

Taking time to learn how germs actually spread will go a long way to help protect you and your family from illness. If a bug does get you down, Indigo Health clinics are open from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week. Book an appointment online if you can, and please limit the number of people who accompany you to your visit to one, if possible.

Learn more about our safety precautions and current services.


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