Have you ever been to a movie theater and felt that weird, sticky residue smacking at the bottom of your shoes? You're thinking, or for a better word, hoping it's just some spilled soda on the floor. But doesn't that mean the movie theater workers have done a poor job of cleaning if the floors are always sticky? Well, some stale pieces of popcorn on your seat, or the sticky mess at your feet are the least of your worries. Here are six health hazards that you might find at a dirty movie theater:
1. Unsanitary Snack Bars
While they may not be serving real food, the snack bar at your local movie theater should be practicing the same safe sanitation techniques that they do at restaurants. Even if they are just handing you a box of candy, you don't want that box to be stored in a rat-infested storage room. Plus, there are certain movie theater snacks that don't come in their own container, and need to be handled by theater employees. Popcorn, nachos and hot dogs are just a few examples of some of these foods. Make sure you pay close attention to the cleanliness of the snack bar and how your food is being handled. The last thing you want is to get food poisoning from a bad hot dog sitting in a dirty cooker.
2. Dirty 3-D Glasses
Watching a movie in 3-D is a great way to enjoy a summer blockbuster, but not if the 3-D glasses can expose you to pinkeye! With all the 3-D movies that have been popping up in theaters, Good House Keeping decided to look into the cleanliness of 3-D glasses that many movie theaters ask their patrons to return so they can be reused. While most of the germs and bacteria found on these glasses were fairly harmless, one of the glasses was found to have traces of staphylococcus aureus, which can lead to a staph infection, pinkeye and possibly pneumonia. If you want to avoid this potential health hazard, make sure you properly wipe your 3-D glasses before use.
3. Fecal Matter...Outside Of The Bathroom
Don't worry, the fecal matter that has been found outside of the movie theater bathroom wasn't discovered in your food; it was found on your seat. Okay, maybe you should be worrying a little. An investigative report by KLTV in East Texas theaters found a disturbing amount of fecal and stool organisms on movie theater seats. One can attribute these findings to movie theater patrons who use the public restroom and skip out on washing their hands. They then get their dirty, fecal-filled fingers all over the seats and armrests. To make matters worse, some movie theaters are guilty of never washing, sanitizing or replacing their seats.
4. Head Lice On Your Seat
Fecal matter isn't the only thing you need to worry about on a dirty movie theater seat. The back rest in your movie theater seat can also be a hotbed for head lice. Just imagine the thousands of moviegoers who rest their head on the same seat every year. You're bound to get at least one or two seats that are contaminated with head lice with that much traffic. If the cleanliness of the movie theater you are visiting comes into question, think twice about resting your head on a seat that might have lice on it.
5. Bedbugs Hitching a Ride
Bedbugs have been known to be savvy hitchhikers, which is how they've managed to make their way into your hotel room. So, what's to stop them from hitching a ride on a person's handbag or clothing for a night of movie-hopping? In an article by CNN, a movie theater in Times Square, New York was reportedly shut down temporarily for a bedbug infestation. The worst part about having bedbugs in a dirty movie theater is the fact that they are harder to spot in such a dimly lit area.
6. Airborne Viruses
This most obvious health hazard at any public venue is the passing of airborne pathogens that can lead to the common cold or flu. A dirty movie theater can make this potential health hazard even worse if armrests, door handles, counters and other surfaces where moisture droplets from a sneeze or cough can land aren't cleaned properly. To avoid this health hazard, always make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and avoid handling food or rubbing your eyes if your hands aren't clean.