Learn about Germs
Which is less germy, a toilet seat or your office desk? How long can germs survive on surfaces? Test your knowledge of germs with our Everwell Challenge.
Female Speaker 1: Worried about germs? Lots of us are, but few of us have all the facts. To find out how much people really know we pounded the pavement and posed a few questions. Okay first one. In general how long can viruses or bacteria survive on most surfaces. Is it A) 10 minutes B) 1 hour C) 2 hours D) two days.
Male Speaker 1: 3 or D, two days. Viruses are pretty resilient.
Male Speaker 2: Two days, D.
Male Speaker 3: D.
Female Speaker 2: I would go with D.
Female Speaker 1: Looks like we have a consensus but are they right. For the answers we turned to germ expert Dr. Christine Moe.
Dr. Christine Moe: The answer is C, two hours and some studies have shown that bacteria and viruses can live on doorknobs and desktops and surfaces for upto two hours. Germs in general tend to like areas that are moist, they like moisture they like areas that are cool and they also like areas that are dark that don't have sunlight. So those are the parts of your house where you have to be especially vigilant.
Female Speaker 1: Moving from your house to the workplace, which of these surfaces at a typical office is the least germy. Is it A) an elevator button B) a toilet seat or C) a desktop?
Male Speaker 1: Well, I must say the toilet seat.
Male Speaker 4: How come?
Male Speaker 1: People have their hands on it as much.
Female Speaker 3: Desktops.
Male Speaker 2: Can I just say all of them.
Dr. Christine Moe: You may not believe this. But the answer is B) a toilet seat.
Female Speaker 3: Toilet seat, my goodness.
Dr. Christine Moe: Some researchers at the University of Arizona did a study where they looked at different surfaces and they found that the toilet seat was less contaminated areas that are cleaned more frequently like toilets tend to have less germs than things that are cleaned less frequently like desktops, telephones, elevator buttons. Studies have looked at Porta-Potties and found that they were less contaminated than picnic tables which are rarely cleaned.
Female Speaker 1: Okay, next question. To prevent the spread of germs, for how long should you wash your hands?
Male Speaker 5: I guess longer than we do, 45 seconds.
Male Speaker 1: Lets go, 15 seconds.
Male Speaker 2: I am just going to guess it's couple of minutes, not seconds.
Female Speaker 2: At least 30 seconds.
Male Speaker 3: Around a minute.
Dr. Christine Moe: 15 to 20 seconds is usually fine. That works well for most people. Now since you don't usually have a stopwatch with you, you can sing a song especially with kids its fun to teach them to sing a, b, c song or a happy birthday when they wash their hands.
Female Speaker 1: Now you know how long you should wash. But which of these just can increase the effectiveness of hand washing. A) Working up lots of lather B) drying your hands afterwards or C) using anti- bacterial soap.
Male Speaker 1: C, using anti-bacterial soap. It's anti-bacterial, so one would think that would be better.
Female Speaker 2: Drying your hands after washing because I think that if you dry your hands after washing them, then your skin is less susceptible and then it closes your pores.
Female Speaker 1: Well sort of drying your hands is the right answer but your pores don't really have anything to do with it.
Dr. Christine Moe: Germs love moisture. So you want to be sure to get moisture off your hands. But it is important to use a clean towel or a paper towel or a hand dryer. Lathering is good but it's really the scrubbing action that gets the germs off your hands and anti-bacterial soap is good but it hasn't really been approved to be any more effective than regular soap and water.
Female Speaker 1: Alright, last question. True or False. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are better than plain old soap and water when it comes to killing germs.
Female Speaker 2: False, they are not better than soap and water.
Male Speaker 3: True.
Female Speaker 2: True what?
Male Speaker 3: True, they are better than soap and water.
Male Speaker 1: True.
Male Speaker 2: That's a true question. Lot of soaps don't kill bacteria, they remove it.
Female Speaker 1: Looks likely we found ourselves a scientist. He is right, it's true that hand sanitizers are better at killing germs but soap and water is actually more effective at physically removing germs.
Dr. Christine Moe: Hand sanitizers, alcohol based hand sanitizers are a great solution. However if you are at home or if you have access to soap and water that's a better way to get the dirt off your hands because of physical removal.
Female Speaker: So how do you think you fared.
Male Speaker 2: Not very good. I must say I got a D minus.
Female Speaker 2: I think that I am amazing and I think that I am more intelligent than most of the people here today.
Learn about Germs
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