We all have that one friend who breaks into a frantic fit at a sniffle or carries anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizers like a fashion accessory. And while many of us get irritated with their hygiene obsession, experts believe that germaphobes have a few habits that can save us a few trips to the doctor.

Here are five germaphobe habits that can help you stay healthier and fitter.

1. Hold Your Breath & Cover Your Mouth When Someone Sneezes
A sneeze is often involuntary, but if you’re around someone who sneezes you’re sure to breathe in some germsespecially if that person is suffering from a cold. With every sneeze, the body expels tiny droplets that house millions of germs, possibly leading to an infection. Holding your breath momentarily after someone sneezes gives ample time for the droplets to settle down and prevents you from inhaling them.

2. Wiping Your Gadgets
Gadgets are an indispensable part of our daily lives and most of us share a rather intimate relationship with our cellphones. We touch them all day without being mindful of all the germ-ridden surfaces we place them on. The most vulnerable entry points for germs are your eyes, mouth and nose. Cleaning your phone every alternate day with a disinfectant wipe can limit your exposure to unwanted bacteria and prevent infections..

3. Using Paper Towels On Public Bathroom Handles
It’s a myth that the toilet seat is the most unclean place in a public restroom. According to a study carried out at the University of Florida, faucets, soap dispensers, and door handles actually contain the most bacteria. Imagine how many people, using the restroom, aren’t washing their hands, or not washing them well, before they grab the door knob or handle to get out. A hygienic practice would be to wash hands thoroughly with water and then use a paper towel to turn off the knob and push open the door.

4. Cleaning Your Handbag Every Two Weeks
Whether it’s to a restaurant, work, on public transport or in public restrooms, don’t you just carry your handbag everywhere? Now, imagine the germs you carry around with it! Once you bring it home, you may just put it on the kitchen counter or your bed without being aware of how many germs it carries. Make a habit to periodically wipe the outside of your handbag with a sanitizing wipe to get rid of any germs lingering on the surface. Here’s how you can declutter your handbag.

5. Cleaning Hands After Pumping Gas
How many of you actually practice this? Kimberley-Clark Professional, a personal hygiene brand, recently released a study stating that gas pump handles are one of the filthiest places that people can come across on their way to work. While tons of people use them on a daily basis they hardly ever get cleaned, making them a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and dirt. So, if you’re thinking of finishing your breakfast bagel in the car after you finish pumping gas, stop now! Use hand sanitizers installed at the gas stations before you touch your car door or steering wheel.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Diseases & Conditions here.

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With a Master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Exeter,UK and a diploma in food science & quality control, Stephlina is intrigued with the intricacies of the human body. She shares a deep interest in human diseases and believes that popping pills is not the only solution to fight an ailment.