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8 Most Terrifying Situations for Germaphobes

by Staci Marks on May 25, 2012

Germs are a part of life. Bacteria are everywhere, and there’s no real way to avoid it. Most people keep a bottle of Purell on hand, try not to drink after sick people, and call it a day. However, if you do enough research on bacteria floating around in our daily lives, it’s easy to become somewhat of a germaphobe, exacting extreme caution at every corner. The following eight scenarios are practically death sentences for a germaphobe, exposing them to all kinds of gross, grubby germs.

  1. Going to the Hospital

    The last place a germaphobe wants to be is a haven for sick, coughing, disease-riddled people. When you combine multiple sick people, even in an environment where sterilization is taken very seriously, it is far too easy to spread disease. For that reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “every year nearly 100,000 people die of infections they developed in U.S. hospitals and healthcare facilities.” Mistakes are made — instruments aren’t cleaned properly, dirty hands proliferate, and too many nurses wear their scrubs outside of the work environment. You may go in for one illness and wind up with something far worse.

  2. Being Around Children

    Since children haven’t developed a sophisticated immune system, they pick up bugs everywhere and spread them around. Children are germy to begin with, as most of them enjoy being dirty, playing in filthy sandboxes, picking their noses, and neglecting to wash their hands. They touch everything and sometimes even put things in their mouth when they shouldn’t. School is simply a breeding ground for such bacteria, and children transmit them with finesse between desks, playground equipment, and in the cafeteria. A child might make a germaphobe nervous, but they would simply go into convulsions if they had to jump into one of those McDonald’s ball pits with a horde of children. When Erin Carr-Jordan undertook the challenge of investigating the cleanliness of fast food playscapes all over the country, she found the presence of serious bacterial strains such as Staph aureus, Pseudomonas, E. coli, Bacillus cereus and Coliforms.

  3. Using Public Restrooms

    Most people would prefer not to use public restrooms, as they are recognizably dirtier than those in our homes, but sometimes nature calls and there’s no other option. According to Denise Mann of WebMD Health News, researchers identified 19 strains of bacteria throughout 12 public restrooms in Colorado, including on the doors, floors, faucet handles, soap dispensers, and toilets. Sometimes, the methods people take in an attempt to avoid the germs only make it worse for others. Women may squat above the toilet rather than sitting on the seat, spattering the seat with urine. People often flush the toilet with their feet, leaving toilet handles covered in bacteria found on the bottoms of their shoes. Germaphobes may take solace from lining the seat with toilet paper and holding their breath. When it comes to port-a-potties, a germaphobe will probably choose to hold it.

  4. Riding in an Airplane

    Once you load onto an airplane and take off, you’re effectively in a sealed, germ-infested environment with no escape. Charles P. Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, performed an experiment in 2007 in which he swabbed down airplane bathrooms and tray tables on eight different flights. His results showed the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and norovirus in four out of six of the tray tables. Unsurprisingly, the bathrooms were studded with E.coli. Planes house hundreds of people throughout the course of the day, and seat cushions, tray tables, and even in-flight magazines are susceptible to carrying all of the various germs such people spread on their journey.

  5. Attending a Water Park

    Everyone knows that the water at water parks is about 2% pool water and 98% child urine, at least according to South Park. A germaphobe would not be comforted by the presence of germ-killing chlorine. While at water parks, children and even some irresponsible adults use the lazy rivers as personal toilets. Children are also prone to drink the water or gather it in their mouth and spit it at each other. Even if you don’t actively try to drink the water, getting a bit on your lips and accidentally lapping it up could cause you to ingest water with the presence of E.coli. Few things are less pleasant than leaving a water park with severe diarrhea because of a bacterial strain floating around on the communal inner tubes.

  6. Exercize Class at a Fitness Club

    Hitting up the gym should always be good for your health. Unfortunately, along with your hour of cardio, you may pick up a persistent bug. The machines at fitness facilities tend to be laden with the sweat of everyone else who used that machine before you. While some are courteous enough to wipe it down before moving on to a different machine, this by no means eradicates all of the germs spread onto the equipment during their workout. The same applies to yoga mats, which people utilize with bare feet and sweat plentifully onto. After a powerful workout, a germaphobe would never use the gym showers without at least investing in a pair of flip-flops, since the showers are crawling with germs and the contraction of athlete’s foot.

  7. Using Someone Else’s Cellphone

    Germaphobes may be able to use their own phone without pause, but even in an emergency, using someone else’s cellphone is sure to gross them out. According to an article written for The Daily Mail, the typical cellphone contains 18 times more bacteria than a toilet handle in a men’s public bathroom. Cellular phones are excellent carriers for staph infection-causing germs. When you think about all of the places people take their cellphones, it can be a bit eye-opening. Most people even take their cellphone with them to the restroom, tinkering with it while they go about their “business.” When someone hands you their warm, freshly used cellphone with an oily, makeup-covered touchscreen, you might think twice about putting it to your ear.

  8. Staying at a Hotel

    Even the priciest resort hotels can be culprits for bacteria and bed bugs. As a germaphobe staying in a hotel room, you may want to invest in one of those bed bug sleeping cocoons and a box of disposable, latex gloves before touching anything. The hotel bedspread is one of the worst features, as it is not cleaned as frequently. Strange things go on in hotel rooms, and hotel housekeepers aren’t always responsive to it unless it appears as a stain. Before jumping onto your bed, consider the residue of urine and semen found in an upscale hotel room by ABC’s News Team. When ABC News inspected the cup-cleaning process, it was even worse. Housekeeping doesn’t even wash the glassware found in hotel bathrooms, but simply towels it off and recaps it. The same goes for coffeepots and mugs.

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