Pumping Gas and Catching Cold

A new study indicates that the gas pump is even dirtier than the money in your pocket. If you think about it, that’s logical; everybody has to pump gas in most states. Only two states won’t let the customer pump his own.

The same study indicates that ATMs are almost as bad. Once again, this is logical. If you want cash, to check your account balance or to make a deposit without standing in line inside the bank (or waiting for the bank to be open), the ATM is your only choice.

There are lots of other things that we touch when out that could be a purveyor of sickness. Door handles, shopping carts and even the things we’re shopping for could carry germs. If it’s communally touched, it is probably contaminated with something.

This information is valuable in preventing spreadable illnesses, but it depends on how you use it. Most people would be reaching for some sort of antibacterial product to take care of this problem, but that is the wrong approach. We’ve been overusing these products, and quite frankly, that’s bad for your immune system.

The best ways to avoid catching something from an outside source such as a gas pump or ATM is to wash your hands…frequently. Just plain soap and hot water will do just fine. No need to get antibacterial soap, as it still can weaken your immune system.

You should also avoid touching your face with your hands, particularly your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. That’s the way most illnesses enter your body. Most of us have unconscious face touching movements, so this will require some concentration.

I’ve seen some people use paper towels to touch items like gas pumps, restroom door knobs and shopping carts. This isn’t a bad idea, no matter how dorky it may look. If you don’t touch it, you can’t catch it as easily.

You should also wash fruits and vegetables when you get them home. It only takes one picky, sick shopper to contaminate the entire produce section. Washing the produce can prevent more than food poisoning. It can prevent catching a serious illness.

There is one more thing for you to consider. If you’re sick, stay home! It may not be easy, but get someone else to do the shopping and pump the gas. If you’re at home, you probably won’t need cash. If every one of us would follow that advice, we wouldn’t find such nasty stuff in public places. Please, protect others and don’t go out sick.

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