A new study in the journal Open Medicine has revealed a germ hotspot in hospitals that often gets overlooked: the elevator button. The study compared the amounts of bacteria living on 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilet surfaces at three hospitals in Toronto, Ontario, and found that elevator buttons were in fact far dirtier than toilet surfaces.

"The prevalence of colonization (with bacteria) of elevator buttons was 61 percent," the study reads. On the toilets, it was 43 percent.

Some might see these numbers and think they aren't so bad, which is why researchers elaborate on the study. It seems as thought the study was conducted during flu season when there is naturally a higher use of hand sanitizer. It was also cold outside during the study, meaning many hospital visitors were wearing gloves at the time. These two factors could contribute to lower than normal findings.

At the same time, influenza was in full swing, so researchers wonder whether there was higher traffic in the hospital at the time.

Specifics aside, the bacteria level was high on elevator buttons. The good news, though, is that researchers found the bacteria had "low pathogenicity," meaning it is unlikely to make people sick.

This doesn't mean there isn't the potential. These are a high-touch point within the hospital and the potential for cross-contamination is quite high.

To reduce the risk of spreading bacteria, researchers recommend offering alcohol-based hand sanitizers outside elevators and including disinfecting this touch point on cleaning specs.

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