Borrowing a swipe of lip balm
“Sharing makeup or Chapstick is the quickest way to spread cold sores and other infections,” says Ingmire. “If I have an eye infection and you use my mascara, you’re getting it. And, if I keep using my own infected makeup, I’ll keep infecting myself!” So it’s important not to share makeup, and to throw yours away and replace it after an infection. If you’re not sure if you have an eye infection, check out these clear symptoms of pinkeye.
Using kitchen sponges for too long
“Sponges are the heavy lifter in the house in terms of clean up, but if you don’t replace them frequently, you’ll spread nasty stuff like salmonella everywhere,” warns Ingmire. Several studies have found high levels of bacteria in used kitchen sponges, including one published in 2017 in the journal Scientific Reports, that found several germs that can cause illness in people, including fecal bacteria (when this shows up in the kitchen, it’s usually from meats, not your own bathroom).
“I don’t own one and never will,” says Ingmire. But if you like using sponges to wash dishes and counters, be sure to disinfect them regularly. The Good House Keeping Institute and EMSL Analytical testing lab tested several different methods and found that the number one way to kill bacteria in your kitchen sponge is to soak it for five minutes in a mixture of 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water, then rinse. The second-best method: Soak with water and microwave for one to two minutes.
Keeping secrets from your medical provider
Being open and honest with your healthcare providers is incredibly important, but too many people let embarrassment or worry get in their way, says Melissa Rubio, PhD, APRN, a nurse practitioner at the Lung Health Institute. “Sometimes patients will answer what they think their provider wants to hear, rather than what is real,” says Rubio. You may say you don’t smoke or drink, for example, when you might do so occasionally in a social setting. Or you may say you eat healthier or get more exercise than you really do.
“When that happens, providers lose the opportunity to educate patients about a healthy lifestyle, especially if we already think you have a good handle on your health. Trust me, all of us can learn a thing or two about healthier living, and we also realize that our patients are human, and no one is perfect all the time.”
If you find yourself staying mum and not being truthful because you don’t feel comfortable with your particular doctor or have had a bad experience with him or her, “it is perfectly OK to search for a provider who makes you feel comfortable, matches your energy and meets your needs,” says Rubio. “We are not offended if you feel that we are not a good match.” Start your search with these secrets to finding a good doctor.