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!

Homemade Hand Sanitizer
The 7 Germiest Public Places



Beryl L
Beryl L9 months ago

I always bring my own magazines or book. carry a tote or briefcase with paper, pen and your own magazines or a book or two. Guaranteed to keep you healthier, I am always paranoid when in the hospital visiting or at the doctor and carry wet naps in my bag I won't touch my car until I have washed my hands and shower when I get home. I've been told this is silly but I think its smart. love this article.

Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

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.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

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

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

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.

Cheryl Mallon-Bond

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

Donna F.
Donna F3 years ago

ew! TY

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga3 years ago


Danial w.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you

Colin Hope
Colin Hope3 years ago

Thanks for sharing!!

Rosa Caldwell
Rosa Caldwell3 years ago

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.