Germaphobe’s Guide: How to kill germs and not get sick this winter

I’m a germaphobe anyway on the best of days, but with the flu being so bad this winter and all of the other bugs going around, it has kicked my routine into overdrive. Here are a few easy ways to take care of business this season and stop these illnesses in their tracks:

There are general precautions that you can take in your day-to-day life that can help you prevent picking up random illnesses, whether you’re out in public or in the safety of your own home.

At the grocery store
Use a wipe to clean the handle of the grocery cart. Most stores provide them now, although I carry extras in my bag just in case. If you’re a Type A germaphobe like me, use extra wipes to clean the seat and the bottom of the cart (I’ve seen babies and dogs in both).

Use hand sanitizer after touching the pinpad at the grocery (or any) store checkout. I carry small bottles in my purse, work bag and car. If you don’t want to buy Purell (it just happens to be my favorite brand), make sure to buy a hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based and contains a minimum of 60 percent alcohol (usually listed as ethyl alcohol). Anything with less than 60% alcohol, or non-alcohol-based, is going to be much less effective.

Airplane travel
On an airplane, use wipes to clean everything in and around your seat, including the seat itself (if it’s not fabric), armrests, seat back button, tray table, light switch and air vent. And as far as that nasty seat pocket in front of you that’s probably harboring all kinds of germs, I always line mine with a plastic bag from the airport store and use it to stash my water bottle, Kindle and snacks. And of course it goes without saying: use hand sanitizer before eating anything.

One-ounce hand sanitizer bottles
Hand wipes
Disinfecting wipes

At home
Wipe down your phone  and tv remotes every night. I like to use these individually wrapped Purell wipes because they have a good texture and are not too drippy; just be sure to use them carefully and not damage your electronics.

Once a day, do a wipedown of cabinet and door knobs, light switches and faucets. Do this more often if someone in your house is sick.

Wash your hands before eating anything, and put your phone down while you eat! Hand washing is best, but sanitizer is a good alternative if you can’t get to a sink. I keep a large bottle of Purell right inside my back door to make it super easy for guests to use if they don’t want to wash their hands.

More tools for your germ-fighting arsenal from item-specific cleaning to Norovirus-fighting weapons:

Norovirus-killing disinfectant spray
Phone sanitizer
Toothbrush sanitizer
Hydrogen peroxide wipes
Air purifier
Portable light wand sanitizer

 

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