The seven germiest public places that could make you sick

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State health officials are sounding the alarm about the flu. So far, seven people have died in Indiana from the flu. Two of the deaths happened within the past seven days. Both of the patients were younger than 18.

You’ve heard how to protect yourself before by washing your hands, but germs are everywhere and some places we found are havens for spreading them. This year, it`s important to know how to fight back.

“We’ve just not seen flu season hit as early and as hard as we have in almost the last 10 years. It was 2003 or so the last time we saw it and it really is impacting people,” Dr. Christopher Belcher.

Belcher is the head of infection control at Peyton Manning Children`s Hospital on the city`s northwest side.

“Transmission of influenza actually starts in the period before the onset of fever so in that day or two before, you may be transmitting virus, coughing sneezing and touch will spread it.”

We found seven of the germiest public places you want to keep in mind this flu season:

7. Restaurant menus
6. Lemon wedges
5. Condiment Dispensers
4. Restroom Door Handles
3. Soap Dispensers
2. Airplane Bathrooms
1. Shopping Cart Handles

According to a recent study, cold and flu viruses can survive 18 hours on hard surfaces.

Barb Yeary is a school teacher and said her fight against the flu is a constant battle at home and in the classroom, but she feels her practices are helping her keep the flu away.

“I always wipe it down before I take the cart and if for some reason I wasn’t able to do that, I`ll always wash my hands when I get home or I carry hand sanitizer in the car.

“We’ll put it on our hands before we get in the car, especially during the flu season while people are sick.”

Yeary also said teaching children good hygiene early is key.

“We are trying to teach the kids just to be preventative, so we do a lot of hand washing and reminders, especially before lunch and when we take a restroom break. We have hand sanitizer in the classroom. We have bleach wipes if we need to use those if a lot of kids are sneezing on surfaces and things like that.”

Dr. Belcher said keeping an eye on children at home and at school can help.

“Children are the center of the flu epidemic. About 50 percent of school-age kids catch influenza each year. That’s why they need their flu vaccines, but it’s them who tend to take it home or take it out into the community or unfortunately into high risk places if they visit grandma in the nursing home that can be a bad situation if they have the flu.”

Doctors said washing your hands is the best way to fight against the flu. Getting a flu shot is also recommended for most folks. Contact your health care provider to make sure getting a flu vaccination is right for you. Doctors say it takes about two weeks to get the full benefit of the flu vaccination.

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