After the news about the flu bug being bad this season, I thought I’d focus on the local grocery store with an eye a hidden danger that lurks within. I’m talking about microbes, some of which can be dangerous should you inadvertently cross their path.
But why pick on just grocery stores? Aren’t germs just about everywhere you look?
Yes, we do live in a buggy world, but on a square foot basis, it’s the local grocery that provides the biggest germy bang for the buck! The reason for this is due to two factors; 1) people tend to congregate there and 2) they tend to bring their children with them to shop!
Personally, I think kids should be classified as a ‘disease vectors’ all unto themselves. During the school year, out of necessity, they spend much of their time closely packed together with others of their kind, while they experience ‘continuous contact orgies’ comprised of playgrounds, lunch rooms and other activities where the transfer of germs is common! Kids also help things along by not being very concerned with where they put their hands or how close they get to their little friends. Ergo, one child’s germs can easily make the acquaintance of his playmate. Another factor that insures that children not only pick up a lot of germs but also come down with whatever is going around is their often under-developed immune systems. The end result is that oftentimes, kids become like small cyclones, spewing out germs as they move through an area like say a grocery store!
Now to be fair, going anyplace where people congregate can be problematic. But, for most of us that list is rather small with the grocery store often rising to the top of the short list. In her article “Avoid Getting Sick: Top 8 Germiest Public Places Exposed” written by journalist Nicole McEwen, she lists (surprise) grocery stores at the top! Nicole also advises her readers to, “Watch out! Shopping cart handles are a breeding ground for infectious viruses and gut-wrenching bacteria.”
I would tend to agree, as testing by people like Professor Charles Gerba (a lead researcher at the University of Arizona), experienced troubling results after testing the handles of 85 carts in four states for bacterial contamination. According to Gerba, “72% of the carts had a positive marker for fecal bacteria.” Other testing disclosed the presence of Escherichia coli on half of them! Troubling news indeed, seeing as how grabbing the handle of a grocery cart is the first thing most of us do when entering a store, it begs the question of what other hazards exist as one winds their way from isle to isle.