While coughing coworkers and sneezing citizens on the sidewalk may seem like the biggest source of illness, we are actually exposed to a myriad of hidden germs throughout the day! It is these hidden threats that catch us when we are least expecting it. From makeup routines to cleaning supplies, we surround ourselves with contaminated objects on a regular basis without even realizing it! These ten activities that we take for granted as a staple in our schedule will reveal just how exposed we are to illness each and every day.
Applying Eye Make Up: Don't let beauty come at a price! Eye make up can become contaminated with bacteria and fungi (gross!) and cause some pretty serious eye infections. Make sure you wash your hands before you reach for your mascara, and try not to share your make up with anyone. It's also a great idea to go ahead and replace your eye make up every 2-4 months to ward off potential infectious germs (via Everyday Health).
Not Eating Breakfast: While it may seem logical to save yourself the time and the calories and just skip breakfast (you're not even that hungry, right?), there's a reason why it is the most important meal of the day. Most of the food we generally consume for breakfast - especially yogurt - contains probiotics,which are essential for destroying infections. If you just take a minute to throw together a quick breakfast, you could be saving yourself a trip to the doctor during flu season! (via MSN Healthy Living). Click here for some quick, healthy breakfast options.
Using a Cutting Board: Just because you're chopping up nutritious ingredients for a healthy meal doesn't mean you are protecting your immune system! Without even realizing it, we often use the same cutting board when we dice veggies and when we cut up raw meat. Even if we wash the board in between uses, bacteria often remains lodged in the surface. Try to use different cutting boards for cooked items or produce, and raw meets to avoid food poisoning! (via Eating Well)
Using Computer Keyboards: Before you sit down to churn out some work on your computer, make sure those hands are squeaky clean! It has been shown that the objects on office desks, especially computer keyboards, contain over 400x the amount of germs than an office toilet seat! Tons of bacteria manages to hide right beneath your fingertips. Try to keep an alcohol-based sanitizer close by to keep your keyboard germ-free. (via Everyday Health)
Overreacting: You're a mom, so battling stress is a natural part of your daily routine. However, overreacting causes a cortisol spike that ultimately decreases your immune system's ability to ward off illnesses. So instead of giving your hubby the silent treatment for watching the game instead of helping out with dinner, or stressing over something your boss said, try to find a hobby that relaxes you (via MSN Healthy Living).
Sitting in Front of the TV: While this may be one of your favorite ways to relax after a long day, it can also be dangerously unhealthy. Often, without even realizing it, we reach for that unhealthy midnight snack as we slip into a trance before our favorite TV shows. The excess body weight that can accumulate could lead to serious illnesses, such as heart disease or arthritis! Just remember that TV is fine in moderation, but you should make sure you are not substituting a walk around the neighborhood and a healthy dinner for a TV marathon and a bag of potato chips! (via Wed MD)
Cleaning with Sponges: Don't be fooled by the hygienic purposes of your sponges! They are actually one of the dirtiest objects in your home! Not only do they provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, but they are also considered to be a contributor to food-borne illnesses. Ditch those sponges and try out some good old disposable paper towels or a machine-washable dishcloth instead. Or check out our recommendations for green cleaning products (via Everyday Health).
Skipping the Gym: It is so easy to get swept up into the chaos of a weekly schedule.You have kids who have places to go, a job that just seems to heap more and more work on you every time you step through the door, and meals that aren't going to make themselves! In the midst of it all, a trip to the gym is almost laughable. However, daily exercise is essential in helping your immune system battle bacterial and viral infections, and an increased heart rate helps to circulate antibodies through your body for illness prevention. Even if it is just for 30 minutes, take some time to hit the gym or go for a walk (via MSN Healthy Living). Click here for our quick, curve-carving workout.
You Rely on Antibiotics: At the first signs of a cold we are often quick to pop a pill. However, the more you take antibiotics, the more resistant your body becomes to them. Before you know it, you'll wind up with an actual bacterial infection and those antibiotics you've been relying on won't cut it anymore! Make sure you are only taking antibiotics when the doctor prescribes them, otherwise you could end up damaging your immune system's response to medication. Instead of reaching for antibiotics, try out some of our tried and true home cold remedies! (via Fox News: Mind and Body)
Vacuuming: Not that this is an excuse to avoid an afternoon of monotonous cleaning, but many models of vacuum cleaners kick up allergen particles into the air. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, all those particles could trigger some pretty terrible symptoms! So either pass off the vacuum to an allergy-free family member, or try to find a model that uses a HEPA filter to avoid all those germs (via Everyday Health).
Just remember that awareness is key: these issues are often easy to address and even easier to prevent!