Although you can’t see them, they’re everywhere. They’re on everything you touch, everything you eat, and they even live inside of you — by the millions. What are they? They’re germs and bacteria, and without them we would all die. But wait, aren’t they the bad guys? Well, yes, bacterial infections kill countless people every year, but that doesn’t mean they are all inherently bad. But, better safe than sorry. So, here are the most common sources of germs in your life:

Do you use vending machines? Have you ever seen anyone clean the push buttons on a vending machine? Me neither. Next time you gotta have some Twinkies consider this — you are probably swallowing more than just your favorite snack due to years of fellow Twinkie addicts getting their mid-morning fix.

The light switches in your home are flipped up and down with the index finger, the most used finger, by every individual in the family leaving literally thousands of bacteria on your finger. Less than 5 percent of all households have ever washed a light switch. The plate, yes. The switch, no.

Everyone uses fridge handles. So, when was the last time you gave the handles on your refrigerator a thorough cleaning? Probably never. Think how many times your kids’ grubby hands open it each day.

Your trip to and from work likely consists of multiple common objects you touch daily, such as gas pumps, ATMs, parking meters, store doors and even your mailbox. And, by the way, when was the last time you washed the doorknob on your own front porch?

Ladies, your hands touch everything in your purse when you are looking for something specific, yet when is the last time you cleaned the inside of your purse — or the outside, which is filthy due to setting it on bathroom stalls, dirty counters at home, the floorboard of your vehicle, and the counters at pretty much every store you have ever have made a purchase from. Yiiiikes! Hang it on a hook and clean it regularly — inside and outside.

It’s a fact, your cell phone is dirtier than your toilet. The reason for this is that phones are generally warm and, like a TV remote, they have dozens of tiny crevices for bacteria to hide in. Ears, lips and mouths, because they are warm, are ideal for the incubation of germs.

The door latches on the inside of any public toilet stall have very likely never been cleaned since their original installation. YUCK!

U.S. currency and your credit cards! The rule of thumb for U.S. currency is that the smaller the denomination the more bacteria there is because smaller bills change hands more often. Credit cards are often swiped by store clerks, who often handle hundreds of CCs each day. Wash your hands upon arriving home.

Never, ever use public keyboards at your public library or any other public facility. Staph and E. coli are great fans of public keyboards of any kind, including ATMs.

And finally, due to the masses of people who use them every day, nearly all businesses with shopping carts have those sterile wipes available when you walk in. There’s a reason for that. Use them. Always.

Opinions offered in If I Were King are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email the King at Some content adapted from the internet.

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