What Did You Touch Today?

You can reduce the risk of the coronavirus, flu and common cold by washing your hands

04 Feb 2020 | 02:59

So far, the Wuhan coronavirus appears to be more contagious but less deadly than a previous one that caused SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly ten percent of the people it infected. Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new hotline to help answer questions about the novel strain: (888) 364-3065, staffed by public health professionals.

While there is clearly more to be learned about this new respiratory infection, one thing is sure: You can reduce your risk for this as well as all varieties of the “ordinary” flu and the plain old common cold by washing your hands with soap and water for two minutes - about the time it takes to sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday."

What did you touch today? Every day, before you touch them, each item on this list is touched by dozens - maybe hundreds - of people, each of whom leaves microscopic particles on the surface. A checklist:

• The button to call the elevator when leaving your apartment

• The button to signal your floor

• The door knob or push-bar to exit the building

• The door to the cab

• The change (bills or coins) from the cabbie

• The change (bills or coins) and new card form the subway clerk

• The door or pole or seat or strap in the bus or subway car

• The change (bills or coins) when you buy coffee on the way to work

• The door knob to your office building

• The door knob or push bar to enter your office building

• The office elevator call button

• The office elevator floor call button

• The door knob or push bar to your office

• The light switch in your office

• The coffee machine, milk or sugar containers in your office

• The keyboard at someone else’s desk

• The phone at someone else’s desk

• The pen or pencil or folder or book on someone else's desk

• The door to the lunch restaurant

• The flatware and glasses and cups at the lunch table

• The bill for lunch

• The change (bills or coins) when you pay the lunch bill

• The door to the store where you shop for dinner

• The packages you pick up while shopping

• The change (bill or coins) when you pay the bill

So wash your hands before preparing food or eating and/or touching your face, lips, eyes, or nose.

You have nothing to lose but some germs.