Facts You Need to Stay Germ-Free

There’s a lot of information on germs out there. Things like, “If you pick up food that falls on the floor within five seconds, it’s safe to eat.” Or, “Dogs’ mouths have fewer germs than humans.” Are they true? We checked with our friends at Self magazine to get the facts:

  • The five-second rule. Dr. Paul Dawson is a microbiologist at the Clemson University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. He put the “five-second rule” to the test by dropping a bologna sandwich onto wood, tile, and carpeted floors that were contaminated with salmonella. Guess what? The food picked up bacteria instantly! So, make the five-second rule a no-second rule.
  • It’s okay to taste someone else’s wine because alcohol kills their germs. Harley Rotbart is a physician who specializes in infectious diseases, and he says that it’s the glass that transmits germs – not the liquid. So unless you’re on kissing terms with the other person, skip the sip.  
  • Dog kisses. Is it okay to let your pet lick your face? Unfortunately, the answer is “No.” Diseases like salmonella and roundworm can pass from dogs to humans. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association says you should not only avoid the licks - but also wash your hands immediately after petting your dog, because they can track germs in from outside.
  • What’s the germiest surface that we touch on a daily basis? Surprise – it’s not your toilet seat! Dr. Chuck Gerba is a microbiologist with the University of Arizona. He says toilet seats have relatively few germs because people don’t touch them with their hands, but they do touch office keyboards, telephones, and sink faucets - all of which can harbor more harmful bacteria than a toilet bowl.

Let’s face it. Germs are everywhere, but one basic thing protects you - washing your hands. After you scrub, dry them thoroughly. Otherwise the moisture gives germs a place to thrive. Since rubbing with a paper towel physically removes germs, they’re more effective than using a hand dryer.  

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