Sleep tight, don’t let the germs bite?
That’s right! Hotels should feel like a “home away from home” when we are out on the road for business or vacations, and while the phrase usually refers to bed bugs, it’s the germs you need to watch out for.
Hotels are one of the best breeding spots for bacteria with thousands of new visitors daily. With a high turnover rate for most, it could be possible that a good thorough cleaning schedule is sacrificed due to lack of time during peak seasons.
A recent study conducted by the University of Virginia revealed that those who had a cold and spent the night in a hotel room left behind contagious germs on nearly 35% of the items they touched. It’s common to think that the most germs are in the bathroom of a hotel- in the shower, the toilet, the sink, the bath mats- but bacteria are hidden everywhere.
ABC News has reported there are several places in hotels that often have bacteria lurking around that you might never have guessed. Glasses, cups and cutlery are often washed in industrial machines that don’t produce that sparkly clean and if you’re unlucky- they might not even be cleaned at all. The study also found bacteria living on bedspreads, as they often don’t get replaced at all in between guest turnover. But the spots that harbor the most germs are the TV remote, telephone, coffee maker, light switches and door handles.
Further testing done by CBC Marketplace found that E. coli and fecal contamination live on the ice machines, and the water lines that feed these machines may have more bacteria than normal… so beware of the ice and the bucket! A check into the air vents also found mold, rust, dust and pathogens that cause viruses such as strep throat.
However, germs don’t only hang out in the hotel rooms. Each day, there are thousands of people that “check in” across the country and germs are ready to greet you right there on the lobby counters. As people navigate their way through the hotel, swim in the pool or workout at the gym, germs love hiding in these places too! Headed down to the lobby for breakfast? They’re probably on the handles of utensils at the buffet. Also, think about how many people sit at the lobby bar at night dipping into those bowls of snacks with unwashed hands… yuck.
So how do we feel safe when traveling? Here’s a list of tips to remember when you’re catching some Zzz’s.
- Bring hand sanitizer with you.
- Bring surface sanitizing wipes to wipe down light switches and door handles, and also the equipment at the gym.
- Don’t sleep with the top bed cover.
- Wear flip-flops in the bathroom, especially in the shower, and also by the pool.
- Don’t use the ice from the ice machine.
- Put the TV remote inside of a plastic bag to avoid touching the buttons directly.
- To avoid bugs, don’t leave your suitcase on the floor.
- Bring your own pillow covers for the pillows.
- Bring your own towels.
- Avoid touching the lobby counter or any railings.
If you are visiting a hotel that looks like it could use our help, let us know, or even make a suggestion to them!