The First Thing to Do When You Stay in a Hotel Room
by Joseph Mercola: Frequent
Hunger and Sweet Cravings? You May Be Making This Common Mistake
Philip Tierno, when he has to stay in hotels, travels with an impervious
mattress and pillow cover. Lurking in every hotel mattress are skin
cells, human hair, bodily secretions, fungi, bacteria, dust, dust
mites, lint, insect parts, pollen, and cosmetics.
everyone to use the impervious covers developed for allergy sufferers.
And he also advises that you definitely get rid of the bedspread.
The first thing he does is remove the comforter and store it in
the closet. CNN reports:
true that bedspreads, or the quilts inside duvet covers, don't get
thrown in with the sheets for a daily wash ... Germs ... tend to
congregate in places touched multiple times by multiple people that
may not be cleaned thoroughly, if at all".
While it is
impossible to live in a germ-free environment, using toxic chemicals
to achieve this is fraught with dangers and is not at all recommended.
However it is best to pay attention to some well documented sources
of pathogens that can easily be avoided with simple non-chemical
Travel is one
area that you can make some dramatic improvements.
hotel room is not a glamorous or high paying job, and my guess is
the hardworking people laboring away at this task are at best just
applying the minimum standard of care in their daily grind. Just
making the beds is hard enough!
I don't expect
them to wash every bedspread, nor do I expect management to pay
for such an expense on a daily basis. This is made clear by microbiologist
Philip Tierno, quoted in the article above:
rooms that aren't properly disinfected, some of the germiest areas
tend to be the faucet and sink areas, the flusher of the toilet,
the underside of the toilet seat and the shower floor."
cleaning techniques, such as using the same rag in the bathroom
and on the remote control, can spread germs around. Cleaning in
a 'cavalier manner' doesn't happen only in lower-end hotels.
the same time] there's no raging problem of communicable diseases
contracted in hotels. Exposure to germs in hotel rooms
is generally nothing some timely and thorough hand washing can't
fix, and of the 60,000 types of germs people might encounter over
the course of their lives, only one percent or two percent are capable
of causing disease."
hotel rooms may be germy, they really can't be considered dangerous.
There are also some sensible precautions you can take yourself when
you find yourself in a hotel room.
and easy sensible things to do when you find yourself in a hotel
- Turn down
the top comforter or duvet cover (depending on which you encounter)
and pull it to the end of the bed, avoid coming into contact with
it as much as you can.
- Wipe down
the sink faucets, bathroom countertop, toilet handle and shower
faucets with a damp towel.
- Wipe down
all door handles and knobs including the entryway and bathroom,
phone, TV remote, and refrigerator if applicable.
the potential infectious agents on the duvet cover, a more likely
important consideration would be dust mites as large number of people
have dust allergies.
the microbiologist quoted in the CNN article above, you could also
bring your own mattress/pillow allergen covers to protect yourself
from this hazard lurking deep in your hotel bedding, but this may
be a bit extreme for most unless you had severe allergies.
the Glasses in Your Hotel Room
There was also
a recent investigation that showed that many
hotel chains do not at all clean the glasses. So it would be
safe to assume that they are dirty and have merely been wiped
to look clean and could easily have been used by previous guests.
You can view
the video below for more information.
Hazards of Disinfection
cleansers and air fresheners are both primary sources of indoor
air pollution, and arguably just as dangerous to your health as
the germs lurking on that crusty looking bedspread.
while disinfection might go a little farther in freeing your room
of germs, your lungs will suffer having to breathe in all those
not really going to carry a bottle of household cleaner with you
when you travel, are you?
the odds are greatly against you coming into contact with the one
or two percent of germs that will actually cause a disease, it's
still prudent to practice good hand washing hygiene when you are
touching surfaces that have been touched by a lot of other people.
To make sure
you're actually removing the germs when you wash your hands, follow
this three-step hand-washing technique:
- Use warm
- Work up
a good lather all the way up to your wrists for at least 10 or
to get all surfaces including the backs of your hands, wrists,
between your fingers and an area often overlooked your
Places You'll Ever Visit
of Clean" Linda Cobb's website, the other "germiest places"
you are likely to encounter on your daily travels, which you may
not think of as germ havens, include:
handbag or a playground
load of wet, dirty laundry
and machines at your gym or health club
cart handles and ATM buttons
to the Queen of Clean, the germiest thing in your hotel room may
actually be the TV remote!
You can also
read my previous article discussing the
eight germiest places in your home, and what to do about them.
Lemon Wedges and Other Bacterial Hazards
Admit it, you've
done it squeezing the lemon wedge into your water and then
dropping it right into your glass. It certainly isn't something
you would think of as particularly harmful, but is it? According
to this previous article, that lemon wedge has been touched
by numerous members of a restaurant's staff, who may or may not
have cleaned their hands properly after using the bathroom.
now boycott all restaurant lemon wedges, because sooner or later
you will get one that will make you sick?
Well, if you
have a compromised immune system, are elderly, or are a small child,
then the answer is perhaps. These are the people who are most likely
to become sick from rogue bacteria.
that over 65 percent of colds, 50 percent of all cases of diarrhea
and 50 percent to 80 percent of food-borne illnesses are caught
not in restaurants but in your own home, maybe instead you should
think twice about keeping your own kitchen clean.
the idea of strange fecal bacteria coating your restaurant lemon
wedge is disgusting, and certainly not hygienic, your own kitchen
is probably harboring some rogue bacteria as well. Studies have
actually shown that there could be up to 200
times more fecal bacteria on your kitchen cutting board than
on your toilet seat.
that you use to wash your dishes is another one that is commonly
loaded with disease-causing bacteria (for a quick tip on how
to really clean your sponges, click
here), as are computer
keyboards, desks, phone receivers and shopping cart handles.
And did I mention
that one of the "riskiest" ways to get an infection is by simply
hands with someone? It's true.
Hazards of Shopping
don't think twice about putting your hands on the plastic handle
of a shopping cart, or about the germs that accumulate on reusable
shopping bags. But according to the above
article from Fox News, you should.
Is it really
any surprise that surfaces touched by many people become germy?
The truth is bacteria accumulates quickly and spread rapidly on
many surfaces, including your hands. Improper hand washing
by just one patron at a supermarket can contaminate a shopping card
for days at a time, as bacteria
survives on plastic longer than on most other surfaces.
But even more
shocking is the amount of contamination found by Fox News.
72 percent of the shopping carts tested, well over half, showed
traces of fecal matter. And half of that fecal matter was
contaminated with E. coli, which can lead to:
- Severe stomach
cramps and stomach tenderness.
watery at first, but often becoming very bloody.
- Nausea and
So you want
to protect yourself from bacterial infection while shopping by wiping
down any shopping cart handles you come in contact with. My
advice is to use an antibacterial gel or antibacterial wipe, which
are widely available at supermarkets, and some supermarkets even
provide you with them at the point of entry. You also want
to wash those reusable shopping bags regularly, as they can accumulate
bacteria after every use.
For the Best
Protection, Keep Your Immune System Healthy
is an excellent preventive tool against the germs lurking in a hotel
room or on public surfaces in general, but a strong immune system
is your best defense against any pathogenic bacteria you come across
anywhere, and will serve you well if you nourish it with the proper
mentioning is the rise
of antibiotic resistant germs, or supergerms, which you may
come across in your hotel room as well, and particularly in a hospital
setting which is the most common place to encounter a supergerm.
pathogens are best avoided entirely, but when you do come across
one of them, the stronger your immune system is the better your
body will be able to naturally fend them off.
You can support
your immune system by:
When you follow
these steps you can have peace of mind that any germs that do enter
your body will be no match for your well nourished and highly capable
immune system, which will always be your best line of defense against
disease of any kind.
2011 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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