Mindful Touching in a Germy World

Your mother may have told you to keep your nose clean, an idiom which means to stay out of trouble. Now, it’s also especially important to keep your hands clean. Some days it feels like every surface is lurking with germs focused on making us sick. While this may be true, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.

Unnoticed Surfaces

Everyone knows to watch out for germs on common objects like door handles and toilet seats, but germs also cover items you might not ever think about, such as money or salt and pepper shakers. While you can pay with a credit card and bring your own condiments to a restaurant, it’s not always possible to avoid touching all surfaces. Touching elevator buttons and light switches, for example, are necessary evils to get work done. If possible, carry a grab hook with rubber tip on your keychain or a tissue that you immediately throw away after using to keep your hands away from smaller germy surfaces.

Surfaces for the Long Haul

The five-second rule doesn’t apply to surfaces that we have to touch for an extended period of time. You can’t, for example, touch a grocery cart handle with your elbow and get your shopping done in under three hours. The same goes for exercise equipment at the gym. You must grip these bacteria-ridden bars and handles and make the best of it. At the grocery store, don’t be afraid to wear disposable gloves. Then you push the cart and pull any product off the shelf with impunity. At the gym, gloves would be impractical. Instead, carry a small towel with a marking on the side that touches the equipment.

Wash and Sanitize

Wash your hands every chance you get and make sure you use soap. The act of rubbing your hands together and rinsing them under a steady stream of water is literally the act of removing the germs from your skin. That’s why it’s so important to wash everywhere like under your fingernails and watch and between your fingers. A quick rinse isn’t enough. If you do an excellent job at washing, hand sanitizer isn’t even necessary.

You can’t go through life and not touch anything. Being mindful of when and how you touch surfaces could be important to your overall health.