Here are the germiest spots you'll encounter through your day -- and how to not get sick

Posted at 10:58 AM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-19 14:22:44-05

Flu activity in the Buckeye State is now hovering at "widespread," the highest level, according to Ohio's Department of Health.

During last year’s flu season, flu activity in Ohio didn’t reach “widespread” geographic spread until mid-January, according to a news release.

During the week ending Dec. 9, Ohio's health department said there were 144 new flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio, compared to 92 the week prior and 29 during the same week last year. So far this flu season, there have been 401 flu-associated hospitalizations.

So how can you protect yourself? Vaccination is a great idea, but The Washington Post gives us a tour of the germiest places we should look out for through our day. 

Who thought our clothes could be germy, but Americans use hot water and bleach less and less, which means germs sometimes survive that swim through the laundry.

Kitchen: Sinks, sponges and counters are coated in germs. Use disposable wipes or paper towels to disinfect them. You can also microwave a sponge to kill germs.

Commute: Using public transportation means you're six times more likely to get sick, The Washington Post reports. Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands ASAP after getting off the bus or train.

Personal belongings: Don't gag, but one-third of women's purses are contaminated with fecal bacteria, probably from being placed on restroom floors. Cellphones aren't much better. Frequently wipe down your things with antiseptic wipes (alcohol-free on those electronics though).

Workplace: Elevator buttons and coffee pot handles are hotspots for germs and viruses. The break room is the real germ culprit though. When researchers placed a synthetic germ in an office break room, it only took four hours to spread to nearly every surface in the office.

Restaurants: Menus are nasty. Wash your hands after ordering.

Grocery stores: Wipe down those shopping carts and wash your reusable shopping bags so they don't harbor bacteria.

Find more tips at The Washington Post's website here.