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Why You Should Probably Not Read the Magazines at Your Doctor’s Office

Why You Should Probably Not Read the Magazines at Your Doctor’s Office

It’s something we do without really thinking about it—leafing through a magazine while we wait for our turn at the doctor’s clinic.

But it may be a good idea to resist that habit. Instead, pop your own magazine or book into your handbag and carry it along if you know you are going to have to wait for a while. Take a pen along and use it for filling out any forms you might be asked to—take little precautions that can save you from an unnecessary illness.

Think about it: the doctor’s clinic is a place where people with various illnesses come. Patients bring with them an assortment of germs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cold and flu bacteria can survive for up to 8 hours on hard surfaces.

What about other bacteria? Researchers in Germany tested four strains of pathogens, including E. coli and staph bacteria, and found that all strains survived on a paper surface. ”Most of the tested pathogens were quite stable on paper for up to 72 hours,” state the authors — that’s three full days. The researchers managed to cultivate germs from the same sheet of paper seven days after the bacteria was first spread on the surface.

Although it might be unfair to put the blame all on magazines. In the German study, the bacteria clung to mostly uncoated paper. Coated paper (which includes most magazines) adsorbs and absorbs less bacteria, note the authors.

Even so, the researchers recommend practicing stringent hygiene, especially when in a health care setting.

If you do decide to look through the reading material, remember not to touch your face until you have had the chance to wash your hands thoroughly. You don’t want those germs hitching a free ride up to your nose and giving you the flu!

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


+ add your own
2:17AM PDT on May 11, 2015

I always BYO reading material, but only because I want to read what I choose, not what happens to be there. This is another good reason to BYO.

1:48PM PDT on Aug 27, 2014

I take my own book or handiwork when I go to the doctors...

5:55AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

I usually take my own book when I go to the doctor. Last time I went, they had put out some word search books and I was real tempted.

7:20AM PDT on May 25, 2014

Gross!!!! Luckily for me I am.never at the Dr.'s, but if I ever am, it's... "B.Y.O." for sure!!!

11:33AM PDT on May 18, 2014

ew! TY

9:04AM PDT on May 17, 2014


4:59AM PDT on May 16, 2014

Thank you

11:52PM PDT on May 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing!!

7:36AM PDT on May 15, 2014

I usually bring my own reading material to the doctor's office now. One Dr is so fast I never get a chance to read though.

5:59AM PDT on May 15, 2014


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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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