‘Forgotten surfaces’ are spreading bugs
‘Forgotten surfaces’ such as light switches and door knobs could be passing on bugs such as the flu and norovirus, hygiene experts warn.
Many of us spend hours cleaning our homes from top to bottom, but by forgetting to wipe down areas which are regularly touched, we may be at risk of picking up an illness. These surfaces are known to transfer bacteria which could enter our bodies via eating with our hands or touching our faces, specialists note.
The latest edition of New Scientist magazine advises people to “identify critical points for transmitting infections” and make sure they clean them.
“I think people forget to clean doorknobs and light switches because we focus on getting rid of visible dirt,” Dr. Sally Bloomfield, a microbiologist and honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has shared.
“If you look at a door handle, you will say it is clean, I can’t see any dirt on that, but the thing we don’t realise is that what is visibly clean is not hygienically clean.
“Someone suffering from norovirus, for example, could have thousands of particles on their hands. Their hands may look perfectly clean and the door handle may look perfectly clean, but there are more than enough particles to infect the next person who opens the door and touches their mouth.”
With colds and flu common risks, Dr. Bloomfield and Dr. Lisa Ackerley, food safety adviser at the British Hospitality Association, both recommend that instead of going over the top with cleaning, people should simply give more focus to target areas; light switches, door handles and bathroom surfaces. Cleaning at the right time is also important, such as after preparing food and after using the toilet.
“It is the time of year when people are saying to me, so-and-so has given me this cold or flu, within their own home,” Dr. Ackerley added.
“But actually you have got a bit of responsibility too and you have probably infected yourself rather than being infected by the other person. That person will have spread the virus on surfaces like doorknobs and all over the place, but it has got into you probably through your hands.”