Handle with care

If you think Minnesota winters are long, annual cold and flu season is even longer, running September through April.

With germ season now in full swing, USA Today recently reported a study identifying the seven most germy places in America.

The study, from Kimberly-Clark Professional, a subsidiary of the tissue maker that focuses on workplace wellness, was designed with the help of environmental microbiologist Charles Gerba, a professor at the University of Arizona.

The findings, while not surprising, might make you think twice about how many things you touch without washing or sanitizing your hands.

1. Gas pumps


2. Mailbox handles

3. ATM buttons

4. Escalator rails

5. Parking meters

6. Crosswalk buttons

7. Vending machines

Other germ-infested surfaces include the obvious light switches, door handles, grocery carts and remote controls. Not-so-obvious items include restaurant menus, condiment dispensers and lemon wedges that are used on the rim of your water glass at restaurants, according to a 2007 study in the Journal of Environmental Health.

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