CLEVELAND - No one wants to get sick around the holidays, but crowded areas like shopping malls are breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. So, before you head out to the mall for your holiday shopping, you may want to stock up on hand sanitizer.
CNN.com recently posted the "germiest" places at the mall.
1.) Restroom sinks: It's no surprise that public restrooms can be filled with germs, but the toilet is not the top offender. Sinks provide a moist environment that keeps bacteria alive longer. Tons of filthy hands come in contact with faucets and even soap dispensers.
2.) Food court tables: Keep a pack of disinfecting wipes handy. CNN says rags used to clean the tables can actually spread things like E. coli.
3.) Escalator handrails: According to CNN, tests revealed feces, mucus, urine and blood on escalator handrails. Try not to touch the handrails and use hand sanitizer after.
4.) ATM keypads: Tests show cold and flu viruses hang out on the keypad, especially the "enter" key. Doctors recommend using your knuckles, not your fingertips, when pressing buttons.
5.) Toy stores: Kids often play with toys in the store, but never end up buying them. When those toys end up back on the shelves, those germs can spread. Experts say wipe down toys that aren't packaged with alcohol, or soap and water.
6.) Dressing rooms: You may want to think twice before trying on clothes again. Perspiration and skin cells can build up inside garments, which encourages bacteria to grow. CNN says make sure to cover any cuts with bandages to keep bacteria out.
7.) Gadget shops: Adults have their own toy stores. While tons of people test out smartphones, bacteria can easily jump to fingertips, doctors say. In fact, iPads that were tested at Apple stores in New York contained the bacteria that cause staph infections. Use disinfecting wipes before testing the newest technology.
8.) Makeup samples: Try not to use public samples at the makeup counter and stick with single-use containers. Many makeup counter samples have bacteria like strep.