Healthy Living: How dirty are shopping cart handles?
Researchers at the University of Arizona conducted a study to find out just how germ-ridden those handles are. The study found that the handles are just as dirty as a public restroom. Our Katie Gibas reports.
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Just how dirty are shopping cart handles, door knobs and cell phones?
"Filthy," said Dr. Joe Domachowske, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist.
Germs are everywhere and live on surfaces, like shopping cart handles. Researchers at the University of Arizona conducted a study to find out just how germ-ridden those handles are.
They found that, among other things, 72 percent of the carts tested positive for fecal matter and 50 percent showed E. coli. The situation is even worse during cold and flu season.
"A lot of those cold and flu viruses are pretty stable. And if someone just brushed their nose with their hand and they happen to be infected with influenza, and then they grabbed a door knob, the next person who comes along and grabs that door knob, if they scratch their eye or rub their nose, they're probably going to inoculate themselves with that virus," said Domachowske.
Grocery stores said they are constantly working to address the issue. Wegman's has cleaning facilities at every location and carts are fully washed every couple days.
"We do have frequent washing of our equipment, including our carts. Our "helping hands" employees will often times at least wash off the handles of the carts," said Evelyn Carter, Wegman's Community Relations Director.
Experts said taking simple steps like sanitizing your shopping cart handle and washing your hands after can make a big difference in preventing illness.
"We encourage every customer that when they come in to use a cart, that they take a moment to clean off the handle of the handle of the cart. And this is for sanitation purposes. In addition, throughout our stores, you will see hand sanitizing booths," said Carter.
Domachowske added, "It's impossible for us to avoid those types of things. Our best weapon is to make sure our hands stay clean."
Experts said taking proper care of yourself, like eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep will boost your immune system's disease fighting abilities.