Here is some good news about germs. Most of them aren’t the enemy. In fact, our bodies are filled with friendly germs that produce vitamins, help regulate body temperature and keep our digestion system working smoothly. The experts call these good germs “microbial flora.” Dr. Michael Schmidt, vice-chair of the department of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, says every germ in our body does a specific job to keep us functioning. While most of the germs we encounter do little damage, some invaders aren’t so harmless, like E.coli, staph - even the cold virus. While it’s virtually impossible to avoid contact with them, you can­ avoid infection! Here’s how, courtesy of the researchers at Woman’s Day magazine.

  • The bathtub and shower. At home and at the gym. In one study, 26% of bathtubs tested had staph germs. That was compared to only 6% of garbage cans! Generally speaking, you’re not as at risk unless you have an open sore, but you can always get athlete’s foot. It’s a very contagious fungus. So, to be safe, clean out your tub with a disinfectant spray after you’re done soaking in all those germs you’ve been picked up that day and at the gym, wear flip-flops and dry your feet thoroughly.
  • The family phone and computer. Everyone in the house touches them and when one of you has a cold, and coughs or sneezes, there’s a chance that the rest of you will pick up the bug. Allison Janse, the author of The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu, says your best safety measure is to keep anti-bacterial wipes near the phone and the computer, and wipe the surfaces before you use them – or your hands after.
  • The shower curtain. Just because water hits it every day doesn’t mean it’s clean! An unwashed vinyl shower curtain can get slimy, and slime breeds bacteria that can contribute to respiratory problems, particularly in people with immune disorders and allergies. So, wash a vinyl curtain regularly with a bleach solution.