Top 10 Places That Germs Lurk in Your Home

Seeing that people recuperating from a total knee replacement have a compromised immune system, I thought it was appropriate to recirculate this informative article titled ‘Top Ten Places That Germs Lurk in Your Home.’ It is also cold and flu season for everyone. This information has been on, Weather Channel, and other sites.

Got misophobia? You’re not alone. Fear of germs is common and can increase as busy schedules make cleaning time scarce, putting the most fastidious housekeeper on edge. To quell that fear of germs, it helps to know where the germs in your home hide — and the most important places to clean.

While researchers who track germs don’t agree 100%, here are 10 top places where germs lurk in your home- some probably surprising even to Martha Stewart. Let’s also learn how to send the bugs packing.

1. Germs Lurk in Your Home in your Kitchen Sponges
A kitchen sponge can carry more than 134,000 bacteria per square inch, according to a 2007 survey funded by Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Lysol, and performed by the Hygiene Council. Researchers swabbed 35 U.S. homes for bacteria in 32 different sites.

What makes a sponge so buggy? Using sponges for more than one purpose is common, and people tend to keep their sponges too long, allowing bacteria to multiply, says Kelly Bright, PhD, assistant research scientist at the University of Arizona. “It’s a moist environment, and a sponge is a nice breeding ground.”

Cross-contamination of sponges is common, Bright tells WebMD. You cut raw meat, wipe it up, then prepare another dish and wipe with the same sponge. On a typical sponge you’re likely to find Salmonella (which can cause food-borne illness) and Campylobacter, which can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain, Bright says.

Replace your sponge once a week or so, Bright suggests. Or put it in the dishwasher regularly or soak it in bleach for about 15 minutes. “The dirtier the sponge, the longer you have to soak it to be effective.”

2. Kitchen Sink
Whether empty or full of dishes, the kitchen sink is a germ hot spot, says Bright. “People do a lot of food preparation there,” and that food can lead to contamination, with kitchen drains having more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch, according to the Hygiene Council survey.

Remedy: If you think the last bit of soap suds from washing dishes will take care of things, think again, says Philip Tierno, Jr., PhD, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at Tisch Hospital, New York University Medical Center, and associate professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU School of Medicine.

“Soap doesn’t kill bacteria,” says Tierno, the U.S. representative for the Hygiene Council. His favorite cleaning solution: bleach and water. The FDA suggests kitchen sanitizers or a homemade solution of one teaspoon chlorine bleach in a quart of water, then letting it sit on the surface you’re cleaning for 10 minutes.

3. Germs Lurk in Your Home Here: Faucet Handles
Both bathroom and kitchen faucet handles are germ-catchers. In the Hygiene Council survey, kitchen faucet handles carried more than 13,000 bacteria per square inch and bathroom faucet handles had more than 6,000 bugs per square inch.

Remedy: “Use a disinfectant cleaner spray every time you clean up,” suggests Charles Gerba, PhD, professor of soil, water and environmental science at the University of Arizona, who has researched microbes extensively. In the kitchen, that should be once a day, he says. In the bathroom, at least once a week.

4. Germs Also Lurk in Your Home Here: Home Offices
Surprise: your home office is germier than the typical work office, says Gerba. In a recent study, he compared the average number of bacteria in work and home office to find the numbers of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which can cause serious skin infections.

In his sampling of 60 home offices and 91 work offices, five sites were tested in each. MRSA was isolated in 15 home offices but no work offices. And overall, more bacteria were found in home offices than work offices. Germiest spots in the home office were the keyboard, mouse, phone, and desktop.

“Probably people eat more in the home office,” Gerba says, partially explaining the larger bug population. “You turn your desk into a bacteria cafeteria.”

Remedy: “Use disinfectant at least once a week” on home office surfaces, suggests Gerba.

5. Toilet Bowl
Not surprisingly, the top germ winner in the Hygiene Council survey was the toilet bowl (but not the seat) with 3.2 million bacteria per square inch. Still, Gerba insists, kitchens are dirtier overall. “There are about 200 times more fecal bacteria on a cutting board,” he says, “than on a toilet seat.”

Remedy: Toilet bowl germs form a biofilm, that slimy layer that develops when bacteria attach to a support such as the bowl, says Tierno. Tackle that film with your chlorine bleach and water solution.

6. Germs Lurk in Your Home Here: Bathtub
Never mind that you think the bubble bath left you and your tub squeaky clean. Lurking near the drain of the bathtub is nearly 120,000 bacteria per square inch, according to calculations made in the Hygiene Council Survey.

Remedy: Give your bathtub a buff with bath cleaner or a chlorine-water cleaning solution mixed up at home.

7. Germs in Your Home: Shower Curtain
The crud or soap scum that collects on your shower curtain probably Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium bacteria,says Norman Pace, PhD, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, University of Colorado, who collected biofilm from four vinyl shower curtains that had been in place more than six months in Boulder-area homes.

They found an abundance of Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium bacteria, and both could pose a problem for people who are immune-compromised, such as those who are HIV positive, or who have other diseases that make them prone to infections.

Remedy: Regular cleaning or replacement of the curtains is advised.

8. Germs in Your Home: Wet Laundry
What are germs doing in your washing machine? Probably contaminating other clothes. A load of just-washed clothes may look sparkling clean, but guess again.

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that intestinal viruses like hepatitis A are readily transferred from contaminated clothes to uncontaminated clothing during the washing.

Remedy: Bleach and drying time. The use of bleach reduced the number of infectious viruses on swatches after washing and drying by nearly 100%, the researchers found. Putting clothes through the drying cycle helped reduce viruses, too, according to Bright, and a hot water wash is good. “If you use the dryer, put it on hot,” she says, to kill remaining germs. And “separate adult clothes from kids’ clothes.”

9. Germs in Your Home: Vacuum Cleaner
It’s supposed to clean, but your vacuum cleaner is also a source of contamination, Gerba tells WebMD. “We looked at 30 vacuum brushes. € Fifty percent contained coliform fecal bacteria and 13% E. coli,” says Gerba. E. coli can cause diarrhea and other health problems. Coliform bacteria don’t typically cause illness, but are often found in the presence of other disease-causing organisms. “Vacuums become meals on wheels” for the bugs, Gerba says.

Remedy: “There’s not much you can do about the brush,” he says. “Vacuum the cleanest areas first and the dirtiest last,” he suggests. That way, you’ll be less likely to spread around as much bacteria. And if you use a bagless vacuum cleaner, wash your hands afterward, since bacteria can remain in the receptacle.

10. Finally, Germs Lurk in Your Home Here: Beds
Mattresses and pillows provide food for dust mites, Tierno tells WebMD, and bedding can also be a reservoir for molds and spores. “In the mattress core there are all sorts of human secretions and excretions,” he says. “Fecal matter as well as sweat and semen.” What’s the problem? “Bedroom debris is probably one of the biggest causes of allergic rhinitis,” Tierno says. “Allergy from dust mites is also a problem.”

Remedy: Place an “impervious” outer cover over the mattresses and pillows, Tierno says, to keep the debris contained. Then wash bedding regularly in water hot enough to kill the bugs.

Hope this information helps you learn more about protecting your health by knowing places where germs lurk in your home.

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AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.

This site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

How To Find Motivation to Exercise After A TKR

Hi everyone. Usually, it is easy to back out of exercising. Many people continually make excuses about why they don’t exercise. However, I want to share some great ways on how to find motivation to exercise after a tkr. Read on…

Be diligent in doing your exercises while recuperating from your total knee replacement and you will get excited about what used to be difficult when moving your body. Why? You will reap your rewards. Here’s my take on the issue….

* You will love how thrilling it is to be able to walk without pain.

* It is great to have what is known as a ‘normal’ walking gait without walking aides.

* It is fantastic to be able to walk fast enough to get out of breath and work up a sweat. (To some this would be “speed walking”. I like to think of it as walking faster than I did prior to my tkr.)

* It is wonderful to be able to walk trails, take in the scenery, and smell the air without feeling any joint pain.

* It is a nice feeling knowing that you are getting the most out of your total knee replacement surgery.

* It is so welcoming to have clothes fit better. I know, in my case, there were times when my dryer shrunk too many clothes. 😕

All of these combine to provide motivation in staying with, or starting, an exercise program.

Hope this helps you get motivated to exercise after your tkr (or any time, for that matter).

Always remember to be grateful you can walk.

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AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.

This site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

TKR Leg Straightening Exercises That Make a Difference

Hi everyone. I’ve been receiving numerous emails about tkr leg straightening exercises. It seems that an update to a previously popular article is in order. I am leaving the original comments intact so you can gain further insight.

Leg straightening was of particular interest to me during my initial tkr recuperation stages. I had to spend extra time working on this area to make my leg (knee) lie flat on any surface. You are probably the same way.

Hope the following information is useful to you..

Search online and you will notice that there have been a number of blog posts written about ways to straighten your leg after undergoing a total knee replacement. I have used them and they work well. Even though the basic exercise maneuver and format is there, it is always interesting to see these exercises from a different perspective. All variations can be individualized to suit individual needs.

I love sharing insight from my readers. In this instance, it is from Monique, one of my favorite contributors who just underwent a tkr herself. Her helpful suggestions put a different spin on some traditional leg straightening exercises to do during the tkr recuperation process. I thought her variations would be helpful to share with everyone. I have tested each maneuver and can attest to its legitimacy. They are as follows, in her words:

1) Lie on the bed and extend the TKR leg and place the heel on a rolled up towel so that the leg is slanted, not touching the bed. Then take a phone book, open it in half and place it across the knee. Stay in position for about 4 minutes. (I had to work up to this because it hurt when I first began doing this.)

2) Another exercise for straightening the leg…Lie face down on bed and let your leg hang over the edge of the bed about at the knee. Add a weight on the ankle of the TKR knee. I put the strap of my purse on my ankle and let the bag hang down. Stay in position for about 4 minutes or as long as your can stand it.

I like the idea of the phone book as a weight in exercise #1. And, the idea of using a purse strap in exercise #2 is very ingenious, in my opinion. 🙂

Thanks, Monique. I’m sure others will enjoy these exercises as well. Well, maybe not enjoy them (due to pain, you know..), but will get great use out of them. 🙂

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!
AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.

The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

Can TKR Rehab Provide Good Cardio?

You bet it can. We all know how important cardiovascular exercise is for good overall health. It lowers risks of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity while also increasing heart health. Did you ever tie in cardio with tkr rehab, though? Here’s something that may help you…

While recuperating from a tkr, cardio occurred naturally for me. It happened when I started using the exercise bike. I sweated like it was going out of style, and I wasn’t even pedaling fast. And, I wasn’t intentionally trying to get cardio. That was the nice part about it. My goal was to perform the pedaling motion while increasing my tkr knee flexibility. It was very, very hard work. (As I’m sure all-tkr people know…)

After only pedaling two minutes, wow…heart rate up, sweat rate up, face flushed. It felt good to get such a beneficial workout. (My tkr knee didn’t feel good, though…)

Just thought I’d share this for those going through the same thing. Moral of story: Change your viewpoint of tkr rehab. Instead of looking at it as simply a way to get most usage out of your tkr, view it also as cardio. You’re helping your knee and heart health.

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How Negativity Affects A TKR

Recently, I have received comments and emails regarding how frightening my blog is. I have written about this before, but believe something else needs to be said.

MINDSET: Your mindset going into a tkr is what determines how well you will recuperate and how hard you will work. The pain of recuperation is intense. And…that’s a mild description. If you go into a tkr thinking “Oh my god, this is terrible”….it will be terrible. If you go into the tkr thinking “I’m going to make the best of this”….you will.

PAIN LEVEL: Also, if your pain level prior to a tkr is not to the point of you thinking “I don’t want to deal with this pain anymore. It is limiting my life. I can’t do what I want to do physically. Enough is enough!” …maybe you are not ready for a knee replacement. Personally, I was carrying crutches with me everywhere I went for a year prior to my surgery. My knee was locking up whenever it wanted. I didn’t know what to expect or when it would happen. The pain was debilitating. I despised the uncertainty. Even the task of walking caused excruciating pain. And…I absolutely love to walk. I walk when others grab a cab, that’s how much I love it. I wanted to walk painlessly.

Prior to my tkr, I couldn’t move from a sitting or prone position without extreme pain. I needed to adjust my spinal column to lessen the pain.

RECUPERATION: The amount of exercising needed to recuperate from a tkr is immense. It’s extremely easy to get frustrated (and we all do it). The time needed to do these exercises and see results is not a quick fix. It is a long and very arduous process. Everyone is different. Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to yourself.

Anyways, I hope this helps those thinking about undergoing a knee replacement. At least you’re lucky enough to read about all that is involved regarding the long recuperation process. Many of my readers, and myself, were not that lucky. I went into the surgery thinking I’d be kicking butts within a month. Was I wrong.

Having a knee replacement is the best thing I could have done. I’ve received the same feedback from many of my readers, also. In fact, this blog has turned into a very welcoming support system. For that, I am grateful to everyone who has contributed. 🙂

You’ll know when you’re ready. Listen to your intuition. Kindly don’t blame me for providing realistic information. I could write about a tkr negatively, but I don’t. There are far too many positive results involved. Yes, the information can be surprising and eye opening. Don’t tell me I scare or frighten you, I don’t like hearing that since that’s not my intention. It is all in your own mindset and how you interpret information.

Thanks for listening and best of luck to all!

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Using A Laptop After A TKR

Some of my readers asked about how to use their laptop while recuperating from their total knee replacement surgery. I was doing this one week after my surgery, and have a few suggestions that worked well for me. It was too painful to sit with my feet on the floor during this time period. Besides…I didn’t have the flexibility to do that. 😕

* Sit on a sofa with a pillow behind your back. I’m a stickler for good posture. 🙂
Place your tkr foot onto a coffee table. Yes, there will be room between the sofa and table. This will help stretch out your hamstring. It may be painful, but what part of your tkr recuperation isn’t?

* I found putting some ice onto my tkr knee helped. You may decide to not do this…your choice.

* Put a pillow onto your lap. Make certain the distance/angle between your laptop and arms is not too much. I like to have my lower arms parallel to my laptop to avoid any carpal tunnel effects. The pillow I use is not too fluffy and provides a nice cushion.

* Type away.

When it starts to get warm, just move the pillow & laptop onto the side for a bit.

Natural Remedies for TKR

We all know how trying the recuperation process is after having a total knee replacement surgery. And, I have written prior blog posts about different ways to ease the process – especially pain and swelling.

Here are some easy methods I use that have, and still do, work well.

Bananas. The potassium in bananas has helped me, tremendously, with my recuperation process. I find that they are a quick pick-me-up. They also provide a sense of relaxation by calming my nerves. And, if there are any muscle spasms (which I have sometimes)…they ease that. All in all, I have become addicted to bananas during my tkr recuperation. No complaints. Wait…there is one complaint. They ripen too fast.

Icing. First thing my surgeon said upon visiting after my surgery was “the best pain med you can take is ice”. I thought that was pretty cool. Instead of promoting drugs (and sometimes they sure do come in handy!), he was promoting a natural alternative. Ice is not only a natural pain reliever, it is CHEAP!! Woohoo!! There have been times after exercising that I will put ice onto my tkr knee. It hurts because my knee is so warm and the ice is so cold. Oh well. And, I will ice for 20 minutes without giving it a second thought. Some may think that is too long, but it works for me.

Elevation. Placing my bionic leg onto a pillow helps ease the pain. I have to be certain that my entire foot is on the pillow. Otherwise, there is an unnatural bend in my knee that does not do me any good.

Massage. Massaging my total knee replacement leg helps ease pain. I find using the palm of my hand works best and causes the least amount of distress.

Shoes. I have known the importance of good walking shoes for years. However, after my recent encounter involving testing a shoe lift out..this area is imperative. Even though my shoes are great for the office, they are not for walking trails more than….I don’t know the distance yet. 😕 And, yes, these are “standard” walking shoes. High heels and fancy shoes are not my friends. Anyways, after my recent walk, I noticed bruising and reddened skin on my tkr foot. What kind of “walking shoes” are those?

Hockey. I find that watching hockey helps me put things into perspective. To watch what the players go through just amazes me. And here I am complaining about a bruised toe. Something’s not right here. 😕 Plus, there is something fun about …I really do not like violence…yelling at the tv when a fight breaks out…”Smash the bum!”

Humor. Life can be difficult. Finding ways to tickle your funny bone is essential.

Gratitude. I find it helps to stop and think, no matter how much pain I am in, what I was like prior to my tkr. I couldn’t walk a city block, stand up without excruciating pain, do stairs, and carried crutches everywhere. Recuperating from my total knee replacement surgery has been trying, difficult, and very time consuming – but I am so grateful I had it done.

Music. Music soothes the soul. It is the universal language that all understand. Lose yourself in it. You will forget about the difficulties involved during your tkr.
I’m confused. I’m listening to ‘Love Songs’ and the tune is about breaking up. What kind of love song is that?

Good luck!

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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An Isometric Exercise for TKR

Hi my favorite readers! Here is an isometric exercise that has been very helpful to me during my tkr process, so I thought I would share it in hopes of it helping you. Plus, it is an easy one that can be done anywhere in your home. It is a good exercise both before surgery and during the recuperation process. There is no equipment needed, which makes it even better.

Gluteus Maximus/Buttocks. Tighten your buttock muscles and hold for 5-10 seconds. Do repetitions of 10. Increase as desired. Not only will this help strengthen your muscles for your total knee replacement, it will help you develop a “killer butt” (or so I’m told…:? ).

Good luck!

Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

How Long Does It Take To Heal From A TKR?

One of my readers (you know who you are..:) ) let me know about this interesting article written for tkr patients that I – in turn- wanted to pass along. The Guest Post is as follows:

Total Knee Replacement: How Long Does It Take To Heal
Written by Richard Haynes.

When you finally decide to go ahead with a knee replacement, you can get bombarded with a lot of information from friends, family, and hopefully the surgeon. When it comes to friends and family, most of the information you will get are opinions though they mean well you get very little fact. The time it took for their knee to heal can vary and unless they had the knee operated on within the last 4-6 months the information you get may be inaccurate.

Your surgeon may or may have not discussed with you some of the experiences you will encounter when, it comes to the actual amount of time it will take for the knee itself to be completely healed.

During the healing process your knee will go through what I consider three phases from a rehabilitation standpoint. The phases are the acute phase, the post-acute phase, and the long term healing phase.

These are phases that I have discovered are important for a patient to understand. The time I feel to discuss them with the patient is not only prior to surgery but, again after surgery as there will be information during the pre-operative briefing that will not be retained.

In general the phases mentioned above tend to play out for the patient in the following way:

1.Acute Phase: This is without question the most painful. It lasts from the day of surgery out to week six.. This time can vary from patient to patient but by week five there is a noticeable decrease in pain. The knee will go through the swelling phase and “throbbing phase” when it comes to pain. It is vital that your understanding and compliance with pain control measures are followed. The use of ice before and after rehabilitation are recommended along with foot elevation to keep the swelling to a minimum. Sleepless nights are generally in store and are not unheard of due to pain. The best measure found to relieve the pain you will encounter during sleep is to move or pump the knee back and forth five to ten times as the knee gets stiff and the spasms occur.

2.Post-Acute Phase: This phase kicks in from roughly week seven to week twelve. Here is where you begin to get a better handle on how to control the swelling and you also have learned as well how temperamental the knee can be. In other words as you become more active the knee will fool you. You will be tempted to do more then the knee is ready to handle physically.

if you take on more then the knee is prepared for, the next day you will pay the price in increased pain and swelling. The use of pain medication though not as frequent is still advised. You should at this point be up on a single point cane and away from the walker which with the new found freedom add to the subtle ability to overwork the leg.

3.Long Term Healing Phase: This is the phase that most orthopedic surgeons will tell you will take close to a year for the knee to be totally healed. You will be able to however to do most anything within reason at this point unless it involves a high-impact activity like constant running and jumping. Pain, swelling, and muscle spasms at this point have completely subsided.

You will have obtained all the range of motion of the knee that you will get. Your strength gains however can always be improved in the muscles surrounding the knee. Your walking pattern has now been established and the knee can and will endure most anything you ask it too.

There will always be some differences among patients when it comes to set time frames with pain and recovery. Having a total knee replacement is considered a major surgery and the advances made in surgery have shorten the time frame by weeks if not by months with some.

The key to joint replacement recovery is patience. By having some patience you develop a stronger more pain free recovery instead of pushing yourself to the edge of suffering from chronic pain and overall physical breakdown.

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Meal Preparation After A TKR

Literature regarding preparing for a total knee replacement state that for a time period after the surgery, patients will need to have help with their meal preparation. I’ll vouch for that…

The first week after my tkr, it was very uncomfortable to stand up for longer than a few seconds. And, the crutches I needed to walk with added to the concern. It could be worse, yes, but I definitely agree it makes for an easier recuperation to have someone else do this task.

After the first week, there are ways to do it on your own. As much as I love eating plain steamed veggies, the task of preparing the veggies was too cumbersome for me. Heck, just filling the ice bag took everything I had. 🙁 So, I needed to make some changes. Here’s what worked for me:

Frozen vegetables. There is a reason for frozen vegetables. They came in VERY handy during my tkr recuperation and meal preparation. Either microwaved or poured into a steamer – quick and easy. The less time I spent standing in one position, the better.

Frozen entrees. Formerly known as “tv dinners”, there are so many varieties and brands to choose from – it’s easy to find something that suits your palate. Plus, the nutritional value is decent. All you need to do is remove them from the box, poke the plastic film, and pop them in the microwave. When done, just dig in. Quick and easy to the max.

Crockpots. I swear by these and have loved mine for more years than I care to admit to. 🙂 All you need to do is put in a piece of protein (like chicken), a washed and cut baked potato, and whatever other veggies you want. (If you don’t have the energy for the potato, just put in some rice with a little bit of liquid). Of course, frozen veggies are the easiest. Sprinkle with some Italian seasoning, put on the lid, cook, and you have a great meal. It probably takes about 5 minutes to prepare.

There were (still are) times when I’d fill my crockpot with water, add some split peas, herbs, and frozen veggies. Cooked at high for about 4 hours is all it took to give me a deliciously easy and tasty bowl of soup.

Hope some of these suggestions help you during your recuperation from a total knee replacement. The first couple of weeks is the most difficult. If you’re like me, the less time standing – the better.