Dirtier than the toilet? These 5 items are among the filthiest in your home

Published: Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 2:14 PM

Water swirls in a flushing toilet.
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images
Water swirls in a flushing toilet.(Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

If you take your smartphone to the restroom with you, you might want to rethink that habit. 

A 2011 study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found fecal matter on 1 out of every 6 smartphones. University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba went even further with his research, which found that cellphones carry 10 times the bacteria of most toilet seats.

Part of the reason is that toilets get cleaned more frequently, Gerba said. People associate the bathroom with germs. Cellphones are often overlooked.

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Here are five common items that are often left out of the cleaning routine:

A man uses a remote control.(Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Electronic devices

Cellphones are not the only electronic devices named as the dirtiest items in the home. Remote controls for televisions, DVD players and streaming devices are also overlooked during most cleanings. 

Tablet devices like the iPad are also culprits, USA Today reported. If multiple people use the devices, it spreads the germs and the subsequent illness. 

To clean: Electronic device surfaces can be wiped clean with disinfectant. 

In this Jan. 31, 2011, photo, Gina Nikichiw-Spell feels cold water flowing out of the kitchen tap at Mayor Wright Housing in Honolulu.(AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Kitchen sink

A home’s kitchen sink carries more bacteria than both the toilet and the garbage can, Gerba’s research found. 

“There’s more fecal bacteria in a sink than there is in a flushed toilet,” Gerba told “Today.” “That’s why dogs drink out of the toilet. They know better than to drink out of the kitchen sink,” he joked. 

Even worse is a kitchen sponge, which Gerba found carries up to 200,000 times more bacteria than a toilet. 

To clean: Gerba said kitchen sinks should be washed daily with hot, soapy water, particularly after contact with raw meat or poultry. Used sponges should be wet and popped into the microwave for a minute to sanitize them. 

Children's swings are empty at a New Zealand playground.(Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

Playground equipment

Those colorful playground sets that children love so much have proven to be magnets for bacteria. 

“I won’t let my grandchildren go into playgrounds, though some of them do have hand sanitizing stations these days,” Gerba told “Good Housekeeping.” “Playgrounds are essentially public toilets for birds.”

To clean: If you allow your children to play on public playgrounds, bring plenty of hand sanitizer, Gerba said. 

Reusable grocery bags are shown at a Whole Foods Market, which banned the use of disposable plastic grocery bags in its 270 stores in the U.S., Canada and UK in 2008.(David McNew/Getty Images)

Reusable shopping bags

Reusable shopping bags are a great way to help the environment, but they can harbor health threats, including E. coli bacteria, Gerba found. The levels of bacteria found were significant enough to cause serious illness, or even death. 

“Furthermore, consumers are alarmingly unaware of these risks and the critical need to sanitize their bags on a weekly basis,” Gerber said in a 2010 University of Arizona news release

To clean: Thoroughly wash all reusable bags, including with bleach if desired. 

Converse All Stars trainers worn by Keith Moon of The Who are displayed at Christies before auction on April 26, 2007, in London, England.(Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

Shoes

Gerba found that it takes just two weeks for a brand new pair of shoes to collect as many as 421,000 of bacteria, according to a study of germs collected on footwear.

“The common occurrence (96 percent) of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal matter outdoors,” Gerba said

To clean: Throwing machine washable shoes into the machine with detergent eliminates all fecal bacteria and reduces all bacteria by 90 percent or more, Gerba found.  

Mother of two dies just day after flu diagnosis

Published: Saturday, December 02, 2017 @ 12:24 PM

5 Reasons to get a Flu Shot

A young mother of two in Arizona died just one day after receiving a flu diagnosis, devastated family members said.

Alani Murrieta, 20, was diagnosed with the flu Monday and died Tuesday in the hospital, family members told KSAZ.

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Murrieta, the mother of a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old, was healthy before the sudden illness, with no pre-existing health conditions, according to family. She first experienced symptoms Sunday, when she left work early. On Monday, she went to urgent care, where she was diagnosed with the flu and sent home with medications. She was admitted to the hospital Tuesday morning as her symptoms became more severe and she was having difficulty breathing, KSAZ reported.

At the hospital, doctors performed tests and diagnosed Murrieta with pneumonia. She was placed on a ventilator, but her heart stopped. The efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

While family members said Murrieta didn't get a flu shot, early results show this year's formula may not be very effective at combatting this year's flu strains.

Florida surgeons to remove 10-pound tumor from Cuban boy's face

Published: Saturday, December 23, 2017 @ 1:09 PM

File image of a surgery.
Pixabay
File image of a surgery.(Pixabay)

What began as a mere pimple on his son's face two years ago has grown into a life-threatening 10-pound tumor, Emanuel Zayas' father said.

The Zayas family, who live in Cuba, received a medical visa so the 14-year-old boy can have a complex procedure performed by surgeons in Miami, the Miami Herald reported. Dr. Robert Marx, chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery for the University of Miami Health System, said the tumor is life-threatening because of its weight and its position, which is pressing down on the boy's trachea.

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Zayas has trouble getting nourishment because of the tumor, and Marx said if left untreated, the tumor could fracture the boy's neck. The tumor is not cancerous, doctors said.

It will take a surgical team approximately 12 hours to perform the surgery, the Miami Herald reported. Zayas will face future surgeries to reconstruct facial features.

The cost of the surgery is expected to be approximately $200,000. The Jackson Health Foundation is raising money on the family's behalf to help cover medical costs. According to the foundation, Zayas was "born with a disorder called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, a condition that replaces multiple areas of bones with fibrous tissue and may cause fractures and deformity of the legs, arms, and skull." 

The surgery will take place Jan. 12 at Holtz Children's Hospital, the Miami Herald reported.

Lawsuit: Woman claims Brazilian butt lift left her paralyzed

Published: Saturday, November 18, 2017 @ 1:51 PM

File image of a surgical center.
Pixabay
File image of a surgical center.(Pixabay)

A nurse from Oklahoma is suing a plastic surgery center in Texas and her surgeon after she said a procedure has left her permanently paralyzed.

Rolanda Hutton, 44, went to the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute in January for a Brazilian butt lift, WFAA reported. What was supposed to be an outpatient procedure turned into a nightmare for Hutton.

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When Hutton awakened from the procedure, she couldn't feel her legs or feet. She told staff, but she says they placed her in a post-operative hotel room instead of taking her to the hospital.

The lawsuit alleges that the doctor injected too much fat into her gluteal muscles, which put pressure on her sciatic nerve. Hutton's attorney, Les Weisbord, called Hutton's condition a medical emergency. By the time Hutton was taken to the hospital, it was too late to repair the nerve damage, WFAA reported.

Doctors have told Hutton she'll never walk again.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, is asking for $5 million to cover Hutton’s future care and lost wages.

Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute referred all questions about the lawsuit to its attorney.

Disneyland shuts cooling towers after Legionnaires’ outbreak

Published: Saturday, November 11, 2017 @ 2:15 PM

Legionnaires’ Outbreak in Disneyland

Disneyland shut down two cooling towers in October after people who visited the Southern California theme park were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

A dozen cases of the bacterial illness were discovered approximately three weeks ago, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed to The Associated Press. All the patients lived or had spent time in Anaheim and nine had visited Disneyland in September. One patient, who hadn’t visited the park, has died.

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Legionnaires’ can cause severe pneumonia. It is spread by mist from contaminated water. 

Disneyland says it learned about the Legionnaires’ cases in late October and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that tested for high levels of the bacteria. The towers will reopen once they are no longer contaminated, park officials said.

The health agency told The AP that no new cases have been reported.

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