WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 09, 2013, 09:06 PM

With flu season in full swing, be careful where you might find germs

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - This week marks the worst so far this year for flu cases in North Dakota.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - This week marks the worst so far this year for flu cases in North Dakota.

The number of people infected has almost doubled from last week with germs constantly spreading from one person to the next.

Did you ever think that when you're filling up you're tank you may actually be catching the flu?

Well lots of germs like to hide out in public places. Take gas pumps, more than 70% of them are highly contaminated.

Before stopping to fill up, Gail Olson never thought twice about the germs that could be hitting her hands every time her tank hits empty.

Gail Olson, Fargo: "That I should sanitize"

Gas pump handles are one their dirtiest hiding spots.

As is pretty much every public place that brings in a lot of business. Nearly 50% of people who walk up to an ATM may walk away with germs on their fingers.

Sam Olson, Fargo: "I'm sure with traffic that comes in with places like this, thousands of hands touching that.”

Other spots like door handles, elevator buttons, and public bathrooms are also common carriers.

Sam Olson: "Especially during flu season like this, I'm sure it can get pretty disgusting."

Dr. Augusto Alonto, Chairman of Infectious Diseases/Sanford: "Flu virus can live up to 2-8 hours in those places.”

Flu cases across the state have jumped 72% this past week, now infecting more than 1,000 people.

Alonto: "It's been one of the worst that I've seen."

So next time you reach out to touch that button…

Kay Cooley, WDAY: "Does it make you nervous?"

Sam Olson: "When people like you make it think about it, it does."

Remember to wash up so that poor hygiene does not give flu the upper hand.

Alonto: "Try to limit the amount of times you touch your eyes, your nose, and your mouth, because really that's how we get infected."

Gail Olson: "Get the flu shot, sanitize hands, wash hands."

A high number of flu outbreaks are coming from long-term care and assisted living facilities.