It is no secret that I refuse to eat or drink after anybody.  I don't take chances on getting a virus and losing my voice.  By now, you've probably heard how gross your cell phone is: In one recent study done in Northern Ireland, almost ALL the cell phones they tested had bacteria growing on them.  So did almost all the office phones they checked too. has a list of the most germ-filled things we encounter on a daily basis.  Some of them are obvious, like grocery carts and bathroom door handles.  Here are the top five you might not think about.

  1. Gas Pumps - According to one study, 71% of them are contaminated with germs.  The best defense is to keep some hand sanitizer in the car.
  2. Restaurant Menus - They hardly ever get wiped down.  That's why you shouldn't wash your hands until AFTER you've ordered.  The same goes for the little drink menus they have sitting on the table.  If you flip through it, you should wash your hands again.
  3. Lemon and Lime Wedges - Researchers for the "Journal of Environmental Health" went to various restaurants and ordered 21 different drinks that came with either a lemon or a lime.  They found a total of 25 different microorganisms living in them, including E. Coli bacteria.
  4. Escalators - According to a study done in New York City, they're basically covered in bacteria that can cause respiratory infections.  I know we don't run into many escalators around Sedalia but you can expect the same from handrails stairways.
  5. Condiment Dispensers - That includes thinkgs like ketchup bottles and salt & pepper shakers.  They're almost never cleaned, and most people don't wash their hands before they eat.  Apparently picking them up with a napkin doesn't really help either, because bacteria can go right through it.  So you either need to use hand sanitizer, or wash your hands afterward.

So I guess if we want to avoid germs, we need to carry a bottle of hand sanitizer around with us.  Perhaps put it in a holster on our belts right next to our cell phones.  Of course, if we're going to go that far, why don't we just go ahead and wear pocket protectors and taped glasses?

As for me, I've gone this far in life without worrying about everyday items that might have germs.  I think I'll continue along those lines.

But I'm still not going to eat or drink after anybody.  There ARE limits to the risks I'll take after all... (I really wish there were a font for sarcasm).