While we know they’re always there, we are not always aware of the impact germs have on our lives. Most of the time we go about our day, ignoring the signs of germs being spread. We don’t think twice about the grocery cart handle or the cash in our hands that has been passed from person to person; these things are a part of our everyday life.

However, we want to make our patients aware of the public places that tend to harbor the most germs. Because flu season is in full swing, we want you to take precaution when you are out and about with family or simply at work.

Here are the top three places where germs get the most traction and how you can avoid getting sick.

1. The Office

If you work in an environment with a lot of people, then you are automatically susceptible to the spread of germs from your co-workers. However, there is one place that tends to get the most traction: the break room. According to a Time magazine article, the office breakroom sink had the most germs out of the entire office space. This is mostly due to the fact that the sink is something everyone uses; it is a common space, unlike your desk, which is mainly used by you.

Ask your boss or office administrator for extra disinfectant wipes and hand-sanitizer! This is a great thing to keep in the office break room, ensuring that you and your co-workers are staying healthy through this flu season.

2. Shopping Mall

 Everyone loves going to the mall. Whether you’re looking for something specific or just window- shopping, the mall is a place where you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Germs love the mall just as much as you do and like to congregate on the escalators and the indoor play areas. In a news story from 2013 members of a Minnesota community reportedly got sick after playing at an indoor play area, which was deep cleaned only once a week. The mall is exciting and fun but rarely do people think about the potential risks when letting their kids have fun at the play area.

In order to make sure that you and your kids stay healthy, carry hand sanitizer with you wherever you go! This is something you have probably been told many times before, but it is so important. Using hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol will reduce your chances of getting sick.

3. Fitness Centers

This may be too obvious, but this is important since most people set a new year’s resolution to work out and be healthier. Even though there are many health benefits to working out and staying fit, you should also be reminded of the potential risks that lurk at the gym. A recent article showed that free weights at the gym carried the most germs out of all the equipment. Free weights are utilized frequently by gym users and not disinfected between uses, resulting in an abundance of germs that are attacking your immune system. According to a 2014 US Study, some germs found at the gym were MRSA, staph and salmonella.

Next time you’re at the gym, remember to take advantage of the disinfectant spray or wipes provided and wipe down equipment that you use. While this can be tedious and annoying, it will ultimately help you in the long run.

We want you and your family to stay safe this flu and cold season, which means taking precautions in places where germs like to hide. But if you find yourself not feeling well, Velocity Urgent Care has seven clinics in the Hampton Roads area, so you can get the care you need at an affordable rate. Stop in at one of our clinics; no appointment is needed!