Stir Clear of Germs, The Right Way

Being an Informed, Health Conscious Driver makes a big difference.

There’s good news about alcohol-based hand sanitizers. An article in Atlantic Media, published in 2015, says they are nearly as effective as soap and water. They may also be better for your skin than hand-washing, as most antibacterial soaps are known to breed antibiotic-resistant superbacteria.

How often you need to sanitize might be surprising. According to health professionals, it is not necessary to worry about using it every time you are exposed to pathogens. “As long as you don’t touch your eyes, mouth, or any other mucosal surface, you should have plenty of time to wash away the germs—anywhere from five minutes to five hours for bacteria.”

It’s the excessive removal of bacteria, by either hand-washing or sanitizing, that may prevent your body’s natural ability to fight infection. Dr. Martin Blaser, an epidemiologist at New York University, reports that “…your skin has its own bacteria, and they don’t really want to share the niche with the invading bacteria.” Online research says when you scrub away too much of these bacterial defenses, you’ll actually be more vulnerable to disease.

The first step in winning the battle on viruses, according to health experts, is not so much about stocking up on sanitizer as it is about working toward healthier bodies and skin. That means eating better, exercising, and fighting germs from the inside out. It is not just about our bodies, though. It’s also about creating and designing better environments that are not as susceptible to germs. That would include new and better types of construction and more innovative items such as filters for truck interiors that help to create safer environments, free of airborne pathogens.

If you wonder about the risk of germs in public places, Geneticist Christopher Mason says touching a handrail is about the equivalent to shaking hands with 10,000 people. In some instances, however, it is actually safer to touch the handrail than to shake one individual hand. It depends on the external factors. In an article on safe traveling for airline flights, WebMD suggests wiping down surfaces such as lavatory door handles with an alcohol-based wipe or gel. With the short cleaning time between flights, these areas do not always get disinfected. This may also be true with other high traffic areas on the road.

If you want to avoid the restrooms or don’t have access to clean water, Independent Traveler.Com lists a variety of water-less facial products. Items such as Colgate Wisps, a disposable mini-toothbrush, provides a quick and easy way to brush your teeth. “The brush head has a freshening bead that releases a mouth cleaning liquid when you scrub, and a pick on the opposite end provides a floss option. It requires no water to use, and the ingredients are safe to swallow.” They also note that Listerine PocketMists, Dry-Fit T-shirts, Downy Wrinkle Releaser and No-Rinse Body Wash are all helpful when water supplies or restrooms are scarce.

While not all surfaces out on the road contain bad bacteria, there are some areas where you want to be a little more cautious. One online study reported that when people with colds stayed overnight at hotels, many items in the room remained contaminated with rhinovirus for at least a day. The cause for alarm, however, is minimal. Studies suggest a lot of hotels are actually cleaner than most homes.

Because viruses can linger, experts suggest wiping down remote controls, light switches, telephones, doorknobs, toilet seats and other areas like faucets. Be aware that many hotels, in an attempt to save money, are implementing new “green” policies where they only wash the towels and linens that look soiled. While environmentally friendly, that means, the potential for a dirty towel or not so fresh linen might exist. Your best defense while traveling is staying alert to these potential hazards. By exercising caution and taking care of your body, you’ll most certainly be on your way, along a more germ and virus free route.

About Millis Transfer
Millis Transfer, Getting It There Since 1936, has an impressive service record earning the company dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis is also a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license. For more information, please visit www.millistransfer.com, www.mtidriving.com or call 1-800-937-0880.


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