Health | Did You Know

Haunted By Germs: 4 Spooky Places That Could Make You Sick This Fall

Fall is officially here, which means it's time for sweaters, hot cider, and pumpkin picking. It also means it's time to get your flu shot and to be a little warier of germs.

The flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for as long as 48 hours, and bacteria often lurk in places you wouldn't have even considered a problem. To help you stay healthy and fight back against the flu this season, here are four places where bacteria could be hiding.

  1. Your winter clothes and storage bins. Professional storage units are a private space to secure your personal belongings. But when you have your winter clothes and seasonal decorations stored away for half the year, the bins they're stored in are going to collect dust. The dust mites lurking in your dusty storage bins, if not wiped away, can cause allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy and runny noses, itchy eyes, eczema, and can even worsen asthma symptoms. That said, be sure to wipe down your storage bins before you bring them into your house and that you wash your winter clothes before wearing them.
  2. Your kitchen faucet. Equipment and tank cleaning is governed by four principles: chemicals, time, temperature, and mechanics. But your hot water tank isn't the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to your drinking water. Grime can build up around your faucet over time, which can cause health problems if it's accidentally swallowed. Use dish soap and warm water to clean around your faucet, or use white vinegar if the grime is stubborn. Knowing the finish of your faucet can also help you find the best cleaning products for the job.
  3. Your curtains and window treatment. Draperies are awesome for energy savings during the colder months. In fact, in the winter, draperies can reduce heat loss from a room up to 10%. However, make sure you're taking the time to clean your window treatments at least once every three months, if not more than that. Dust mites and allergens, which can cause a whole slew of health issues and cold symptoms, can be lurking in the folds of your draperies.
  4. The desk of your home office. The average work desk has more germs on its surface than a toilet seat. And while you don't have to worry about co-workers' cold symptoms in the comfort of your own home, that doesn't mean you're safe from the bacteria. Make sure to wipe down your desk at least once a day and that you're regularly cleaning your keyboard.

Fall is one of the best times of the year for sight-seeing and sharing hot meals with loved ones. But it's also the time of year when germs and viruses come back to town.

By cleaning the surfaces and materials listed above and by washing your hands periodically throughout the day, you can fight back against colds and the flu this season.

Head of Content, reality TV watcher and lover of cookies. emma@shared.com