By Frank Vascellaro

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With a flu outbreak causing sickness here in Minnesota, everybody is looking for ways to avoid it. Experts say good hand washing is the key but there are other ways to avoid germs.

A new list published by AARP singles out eight germy things you shouldn’t touch that you might not even notice.

Ansari restaurant in Eagan serves up Mediteranean and American cuisine, but they’re equally proud of what they don’t serve up.

Menus go from hand-to-hand at many restaurants, passing germs along the way. So Ansari’s cleans them constantly.

“We do it thoroughly,” Ramsey Ansari said. “We have anti-bacterial spray and a separate towel just for the menus.”

Lemon wedges are another hot spot — carrying germs from servers unless they’re handled properly.

“When our people are cutting them, they gotta use sanitary gloves and we use the same cutting board just for the lemons and limes, just for fruits for the bar,” he said.

And you won’t find any ketchup bottles on these tables. They can get covered with hand prints and germs so Ansari’s doesn’t use them.

“Everybody handling that. You don’t want that. We use the pump. They pump into the portion cup. It’s easy, no hands on it,” he said.

In the bathroom, undersides of soap dispensers can get filthy, so touch-free dispensers are better. And when you’re done washing, use the paper towel to avoid touching the door handle.

“I think there’s probably a healthy paranoia that we all should have,” said Dr. Jeff Bender, of the U of M.

Airplane bathrooms are touchy with so many people using them between cleanings. And a study showed grocery carts can have as much bacteria as some public bathrooms so use the wipes that many stores now provide.

“Areas where there are a lot of hand contact. In the back of your mind, say maybe I want to pull out my hand sanitizer,” Bender said.

And if you’re wondering about No. 8? It’s the doctor’s office.

Gallery: 8 Germiest Surfaces

Frank Vascellaro