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Hospital Elevator Buttons Dirtier Than Toilets, Study Says

Hospital Elevator Buttons Dirtier Than Toilets, Study Says

There are lots of things you wouldn’t expect to be dirtier than a toiletóbut everything from†dollar bills to ice at fast food restaurants make that list, harboring alarming levels of bacteria.

Another unfortunate addition to the list? Hospital elevator buttons, a new study says. Researchers swabbed 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilet surfaces in three hospitals. Their findings, published in the Open Medicine journal,†might inspire you to put on a pair of medical gloves before hitting any elevator buttons. 61 percent of elevator buttons were colonized with bacteria, compared to 43 percent on toilet surfaces.

The good news? Most of the bugs found were harmless. But the risk is still there, study author Dr. Donald Redelmeier tells the Vancouver Sun. “They’re active really every moment of the day and they’re touched by multiple people and it’s almost always with ungloved hands,” he says, adding “They can’t be cleaned again and again and again, every second of the day. Once they’re clean, they don’t stay clean very long.”

Elevator buttons aren’t the only places you’ll find bacteria lurkingóprevious studies have found bacterial contamination on everything from lab coats and stethoscopes to computer keyboards and digital tablets where employees track patient data.

One thing you can do to keep your risk of transmitting bacteria down on any elevator? Make sure you’re washing your fingertips, especially the pointer finger on your dominant hand. “Often when people use a hand cleanser, they’re very good at washing their palms, but not their fingertips,” Dr. Redelmeier explains. “And yet most of the transmission does not occur in the middle of the hand, it occurs at the periphery of the hand.”

 

Read more: General Health, Health

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84 comments

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8:36PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

This is really no surprise....

8:21PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

This news did not surprise me. Colin H has a good idea, it wouldn't hurt.

5:25AM PDT on Jul 23, 2014

Yeah! You and me both Colin H!

11:37PM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

Not surprised, thanks for the info.

6:25AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

Oh, Wow!! From now on I'll press ALL elevator and lavatory buttons through my sleeve with my elbow!!

5:58AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

Not surprising.

2:36AM PDT on Jul 17, 2014

Okay. I am now officially oogied out.

3:01PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

An article designed to excite panic in anyone with OCD. Common sense, people!

1:30PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Wow! That was great information regarding germs on elevator buttons vs. toilet seats. The elevator won 61% over 43%. From now on elevator buttons will be pushed with my
skirt in hand!

12:01AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

I've read that shopping trolley and baskets handles are worse.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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