Wash your hands. That’s a common mantra — and a worthy one — as the H1N1 flu continues to spread around the globe.
But all the hand-washing in the world may not be a match for the germs and viruses lurking on household surfaces.
“There is a big appreciation for influenza that you can get it from your hands, but a lack of appreciation that viruses can be picked up on surfaces,” said John Oxford, who heads the Hygiene Council and is a professor of virology at St. Bartholomew’s and the Royal London Hospital.
The Hygiene Council — comprising global experts in the field of public health and infectious diseases — recently released the results of its second annual International Home Hygiene Study. The 2009 survey of bacteria found on home surfaces in eight countries, including the U.S., shows that the kitchen remains the source of the most germy surfaces. Kitchen cloths and sponges were the biggest source of bacteria, followed by sink faucets.