You already knew that hotel comforters are questionable when it comes to cleanliness, but a study released this week enlightened us to everything else that lurks at the Best Western. Researchers found that everything from the light switch to the window sill is crawling with bacteria…and fecal matter! But hotels aren’t the only place you can catch a summer bummer. There are plenty of gross, poop-covered summer travel pitfalls that you may encounter, whether you’re jetsetting or road-tripping.
Many travelers blame upset stomaches and vomiting on the motion of travel, or on the food they’ve eaten–but in all likelihood, if it’s not e. Coli or Salmonella, it’s probably something they picked up from touching something that was harboring harmful bacteria. Like a lot of things are.
It’s a pretty well-reported fact that most people don’t wash their hands frequently enough–and many don’t even wash after using the bathroom, which means bacterial and yes, even minute flecks of solid waste can end up on surfaces you regularly touch. If you then, say, pop a grape in your mouth or otherwise touch your face, you’re essentially feeding yourself bacteria that can make you sick.
Alcohol-based sanitizer isn’t a perfect solution (washing thoroughly and often is really your best line of defense), consider packing some antibacterial wipes along with you–they’re a good way to decontaminate these communal surfaces, and minimize the likelihood that you’ll come down with something gross.
Image: Beth Swanson via Shutterstock