Germbusters For Germophobes

It seems most people today have become aware of the dangerous microbes we come in contact with on a daily basis. Front page news of tainted food, poor cleaning practices in public places and the contaminated confines shared during air travel are the main culprits.

And now, with cold and flu season upon us, it's even more relevant.

On The Early Show Friday, David Gregg, senior editor of, shows us some gadgets meant to keep germs at bay, and perhaps put even the greatest "germophobes" at ease!

  • A number of nationally recognized, independent lab studies have found that over 70 percent of common illnesses (colds, flu, and intestinal ailments) are transmitted through the surfaces we touch.
  • 76 million cases of food-caused illness are reported by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States every year. Of those, 325,000 are serious, resulting in hospitalization, and 5,000 are deaths.
  • Surveys find that 75 percent of people public fail to wash their hands after using the toilet!

    Top 10 Germ-Carrying Surfaces to Avoid:
    1. Public restroom faucet handles
    2. Airplane toilet seats
    3. Public restroom external door handle
    4. Office microwave
    5. Public restroom internal door handle
    6. Elevator buttons
    7. Photocopier start button
    8. Office refrigerator handle
    9. ATM keypad
    10. Hotel room remote control buttons

    Types Of Germs Waiting For Us:

  • Bacteria: Salmonella -- can cause food poisoning
  • Viruses: Rhinoviruses -- can cause colds or flu
  • Fungi: Trichophyton -- can cause skin or respiratory infections


    The following descriptions were prepared with information provided by the companies whose products were displayed during the segment:

    CulinaryPrep (eradicates 99.5 percent of food borne illnesses)

    CulinaryPrep is the first home kitchen appliance that applies a patented process to prepare your foods, prevent food borne illnesses and protect your personal food supply. The CulinaryPrep uses a patented technology called Grovac. Grovac provides a safe, easy to use, all-natural and effective anti-microbial solution for meat, fish, poultry, seafood and produce. The process involves alternately exposing food to a vacuum environment and a specially formulated, all-natural solution. This process reduces the level of pathogenic and spoilage bacteria found on meat and produce by up to 99.5% (results of an independent study)-making food safer and extending its shelf-life substantially. PRICE: $399;

    Cleanse Light (UV Light Surface Sterilizer)

    Cleanse Light is sort of like having a magic wand that zaps germs. This device employs the same UV technology currently used to sanitize works spaces and tools used in laboratories and medical facilities. UV light at germicidal wavelengths has shown to be a highly effective method of destroying harmful micro-organisms such as E. coli, Staphylococcus and Salmonella, as well as odor-casing bacteria-the germs that cause the flu and the common cold. This product is the perfect solution to some of the biggest cootie culprits: airplane tray tables, bathroom surfaces and hotel bedding The wand's light automatically turns off if it's not pointed downward, to prevent accidental exposure. Effective disinfecting can generally be achieved in 20 seconds at a distance of about 8 inches. PRICE: $59.95;

    Philips UV Sanitizer (for rechargeable toothbrush heads)

    With a simple push of a button, the Sonicare UV Sanitizer sterilizes your brush head to clean right down to the bristles. It not only cleans but also offers a storing solution to help ensure you are maximizing your oral hygiene regimen. Once activated, your toothbrush goes through a 10 minute cycle to kill up to 99 percent of bacteria off your brush head. The unit fits Sonicare e-series and ProResults brush heads as well as other leading rechargeable brands (including Oral B Flexisoft and Floss Action). The UV Sanitizer holds up two brush heads at a time. Replace your brush head at least every 3 months to ensure optimal results. PRICE: $49.99;

    Philips Sonicare FlexCare

    The Sonicare brush head works in a broad sweeping motion with contour fit bristles to help increase tooth coverage. This, combined with Sonicare's patented sonic technology, creates a high speed bristle motion that allows a powerful but gentle dynamic cleaning action, ensuring a deep clean between teeth and along the gum line. The specially integrated UV sanitizer helps to eliminate bacteria commonly found on your toothbrush. Simply place the brush head in the FlexCare sanitizing unit, and with a single push of a button, your brush will be sanitized. The UV Sanitizer utilizes similar ultraviolet technology used in hospitals to clean and store your toothbrush so you know it is always ready for the next use. PRICE: $179.99;

    SquidSoap by Airborne (not really a germbuster, as such, but helps teach kids how to wash properly)

    According to the CDC, the most important thing people can do to keep from getting sick is to wash their hands. SquidSoap is designed to teach and train proper hand-washing technique to children. It's the only liquid-soap dispenser with a specially designed pump that stamps a child's hand with vegetable dye. It takes about 20 seconds of thorough hand washing to remove the ink mark, leaving the child with clean hands. So it literally takes the guesswork out of whether or not your kids have washed their hands thoroughly. It's easy, fun and effective. $3.99

    Logitech MX 3200 Antibacterial Keyboard/Mouse Combo

    Logitech's new keyboard and mouse combination employ an AgION antibacterial surface. This is the same compound also used to inhibit microbes on hospital surfaces. The AgION surface has randomly placed crystals that contain silver ions which disrupt bacterial cell growth. This type of computer peripheral is perfect for the home that has lots of little dirty hands and in crowded offices, specifically during the winter flu season. Uses six (6) AA batteries. PRICE: $99;

    NiceFlights Airplane Seat Cover Skyway

    Upgrade your economy class seat to deluxe comfy class with these ingenious airplane seat covers. No more sharing your seat with a thousand other people and their fibers, hairs and germs. No more scratchy materials touching your skin for hours and hours. The cotton seat cover fold ups and is stored in a reversible pouch which doubles as storage for personal items in-flight. It fits like a bed cover and is quick and easy to set up. Available in blue and black. PRICE: $30;

    The Handler -- An Extra Finger For Germophobes

    The Handler anti-microbial device becomes one of the first truly practical tools designed to help individuals fight the battle against infectious diseases. The Handler is a handheld anti-microbial door opening device that fits conveniently on a keychain. It uses a deployable rubber gripping arm that allows users to interact with most disease transmitting surfaces (restroom door handles, toilet levers, elevator buttons, and ATM keypads) without actually making direct contact with them. The Handler's rubber and plastic components are infused with nano silver particles which effectively kill 98% of all single-celled organisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) on contact. PRICE: $10.95;

    Also ...

    The Halo UVX Ultraviolet Vacuum

    Scientists and hospitals have known for decades, the most effective way to kill unseen and unwanted pests without the use of chemicals is germicidal ultraviolet, or UV-C, light. The Halo UVX Ultraviolet Vacuum can kill potentially dangerous micro-organisms by disrupting the DNA structure of their cells. Run the Halo ultraviolet vacuum over your carpets as you would with a normal vacuum, activate the UV-C bulb chamber and you're instantly and safely deactivating the DNA of the dust mites, viruses, bacteria, fleas, lice and mold that had been lurking between the fibers. This vacuum will eradicate the harmful bacteria, germs and viruses teeming in the fibers of your flooring, all without the use of any chemicals. PRICE: $399.99;

    SteriPen (safe drinking water ... anywhere)

    SteriPEN is the only portable water purifier that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy waterborne microbes. Whether your source is a woodland brook or an overseas hotel tap, SteriPEN purifies clear water by destroying viruses, bacteria and protozoa-including Giardia and Cryptosporidium-in seconds. Carry a SteriPEN to disinfect water wherever you travel, hike, camp or trek. It's the fastest route to pure, safe drinking water anywhere. PRICE: $99.99;

    Plane Clean Air Filter (for healthier air travel)

    The Plane Clean Air Filter is a compact device that can be attached to a passenger's overhead air nozzle. Plane Clean Air houses an electrostatically charged media filter capable of removing viruses, bacteria and other particulate matter from an air stream. A thin air gasket is attached to the entrance port of the filter housing. Plane Clean Air is designed for attachment to most gasper configurations (Airbus and Boeing aircraft) using the adhesive on the air gasket. Plane Clean Air has been tested in an FDA certified lab and is shown to remove 99.5% of all airborne bacteria, viruses and allergens from your air stream. PRICE: $19.95;

    Air Free -- Mold and Germ Destroying Air Purifier

    The Air Free air purifier uses heated air to destroy airborne mold, bacteria, viruses, dust mites, and pollens. Unlike commonly available ionic units, it does not produce harmfully elevated ozone levels; it also reduces existing indoor ozone, which the America Lung Association indicates can be a serious respiratory irritant and asthma trigger. With no filters to replace or clean, the compact cleaner pulls air into the internal chamber which is heated to 392 degrees Fahrenheit to silently destroy mold, airborne bacteria, viruses, pet dander, and common household dust mites in a room up to 30' x 18'. Despite its high internal heat level, the purifier will not change the room temperature. For the highest level of air purification, it is recommended for use 24-hours a day, every day, yet it draws less power than a 60-watt light bulb. A soothing adjustable night light is built in. 10 1/2" H x 8 1/2". PRICE: $239.95;

    The Healthy Handle

    Supermarkets regularly clean their floors, bathrooms and shelves; but what about their carts? Keep your kids and your own hands free of germs from the (potentially runny-nosed ) grocery shoppers who used your cart before you did with the new Healthy Handle. This product is a dishwasher-safe, durable piece of colorful telescoping plastic that snaps on and off without needing to touch the cart handle. This product is a nice alternative to chemical antibacterial lotion. Available in Red/Blue/Green. PRICE: $19.95 (pack of two);