Every day we hear about people who come in contact with E Coli by touching contaminated objects or eating contaminated foods.
Invariably, they end up hospitalized. Most of the time they recover. Unfortunately, sometimes they do not.
Occasionally, people who are old and frail, very young or who have health complications will succumb to food poisoning from E Coli and other contaminants.
These stories are frightening, and they can cause a person to wonder just how safe it is to travel about in public places and eat at local eateries. Is there really a lot of E Coli strewn about the average cityscape?
In this article, we will discuss the results of an informal, independent testing project and give some recommendations that will help you avoid E Coli. Read on to learn more.
How Do You Test For E Coli?
It is possible to purchase E Coli testing kits, and in this study ten different locations were tested using the following methodology.
Where Were Samples Gathered?
Here are the venues in which these tests took place:
- Machine At The Gymnasium
- Public Drinking Fountain
- Porta Potty Door handle
- Porta Potty Seat
- Playground Slide
- ATM Machine
- Shopping Cart
- Phone Booth
- Park Bench
- Hand Rail
When the 48 hour percolation period was over, the independent researchers checked their test results. If the vial contained yellow liquid and gas bubbles, it indicated the presence of E Coli.
Red liquid without gas bubbles indicates that no E Coli is present. A combination may mean a lesser degree of E Coli contamination.
The Tests Results Were Not Entirely Predictable
The researchers were somewhat surprised by some of the results of the test. We will only discuss the sites that yielded the most significant results of the testing. These four locations produced very dramatically positive test results:
1. The Phone Booth: The sample taken in the phone booth turned out to be entirely positive. It was bright yellow with a robust development of gas bubbles. This meant that there was a strong presence of E Coli on the handset of the telephone. Luckily, phone booths are few and far between these days and most people can use their own cell phones.
2. Park Bench: The sample taken from the park bench arm rest showed strongly positive mixed results. You would be wise to exercise caution when placing your hands on any surface where many other people have rested their hands.
3. The Porta-Potty: These test results were a bit surprising. The sample taken from the porta-potty seat turned out to be mostly red with just a few gas bubbles. This means that there was little, if any, E Coli present.
4. The ATM Machine: The sample taken from the ATM machine keyboard showed strongly positive mixed results.
What Can You Do To Avoid E Coli?
While the results of this informal test may make it seem as if you are at risk for contracting E Coli at any moment and in any location, this really isn’t true.
There are a lot of factors that play into whether or not you will be affected by this bacteria. There are also strong factors that determine the degree to which you will be affected.
If you are healthy and have a strong immune system, you are less likely to be seriously affected.
If you practice common sense by avoiding touching dirty surfaces and eating only in reputable restaurants, you are less likely to come in contact with E Coli. If you practice safe food preparation methods at home, you are less likely to suffer from food poisoning of all kinds.
Last, but absolutely not least, if you make a habit of washing your hands frequently, you will dramatically reduce your chances of being sickened by E Coli and other germs and viruses.
Hand washing is your first line of defense against all kinds of illnesses. Be sure to wash your hands before eating.
Always wash your hands after using the restroom. When you do wash your hands in a public restroom, use a paper towel to turn the faucet off and to open the bathroom door to exit. By doing this, you can avoid picking up germs from these much-used surfaces.