Before kids are back in school sharing close quarters with 35 other children who are coughing, sneezing and sniffling all over everything, there are several other areas where germs are lurking and waiting to make you ill. Where they’re hiding and how to fight them off.

Maybe I should have taken my own advice on this one because I am currently fighting something off, but I really do try my hardest to stay away from germs.

Take for example the shopping cart. Ugh. Between kids touching it all over, and the unknown number of people who use that cart every day and the fact that it never gets washed, shopping cart handles are nasty. Keep a container of sanitary wipes in your tote bag and before you venture into Coborn’s and plop junior into the cart, thoroughly wipe down the handles and seats. Even if you don’t take the kids with when you go shopping, don’t place fruits or vegetables in the child seats without placing them in the produce bags. The credit card swipe keypad and pen can also be kind of gross, so I also like to keep some antibacterial hand sanitizer in the car in case I get hungry on the way home I can wash my hands before I munch away.

Did you know your desk could have more germs than a toilet seat? Your phone and keyboard are also teeming with bacteria. Keep some anti-bacterial spray and paper towels in your desk and at the end of the day, wash off your desk, keyboard, phone handset, phone keypad, mouse and cell phone to keep your area clean.

The sinks and faucets in the restrooms are actually dirtier than the toilet seats and those automatic sinks are likely not much better. A study done by Johns Hopkins Medical School found that water from touch free sinks is actually full of more bacteria than regular sinks because a more complex valve system has more places where bacteria can hide. If you can, use a paper towel to touch everything after you’ve washed your hands. That means the sink handle, the light switch and the door.

Germs lurk all over the place in restaurants. Menus are disgusting. Try and keep the menu from touching your silverware or plate and wash your hands after you’ve handed the menu back to your server. Also, be careful of the salt and pepper shakers as well as the condiment bottles such as ketchup and mustard. As much as I hate to say this, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT eat the popcorn unless your server brings it to you and for the love of pete, don’t eat the mints.