Spread of Bacteria: 4 Surprising Ways You Are Spreading Bacteria

Spread of Bacteria: 4 Surprising Ways You Are Spreading Bacteria

We all know by now that it’s important that we wash our hands often, thoroughly and for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of germs and disease. What you may not know is that there are things that you are doing every day that are increasing the spread of bacteria even when you do wash your hands, without you knowing about it.

Spread of Bacteria through Hand dryers

What could be more hygienic than drying your hands with hot air? Well, just about anything really. Hand dryers, particularly the high-speed jet dryers that you get in public bathrooms, actually spread germs rather than removing them.

A study conducted by microbiologists compared the dispersal of bacteria from jet air dryers with warm air dryers and paper towels. They found that the jet air dryer dispersed 20 times more virus than the warm air dryer, and 190 times more than paper towels. The virus was dispersed at six different heights and nine different distances. The study showed that the greatest level of impact was at 2.5 to 4.1 feet, which is about face height for a child.

Jet dryers work by forcing air out sideways at ultra-high speeds, which explains the results. Warm air dryers work by evaporation and paper towels by absorption.

The study didn’t conclude whether the bacteria originated on the hands of the participants or within the dryer itself, but either way, drying your hands with a paper towel is a much more hygienic option as it works more quickly and the rubbing action removes additional bacteria. You should avoid cloth towel dispensers where possible as the same bits of towel are getting used repeatedly.

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Hand sanitisers

A good hand sanitiser (one with at least 60% alcohol) is a great option to get rid of the majority of bacteria when you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands.

For example, if you are at the gym it’s a good idea to clean your hands between each machine, but you probably aren’t going to want to go all the way to the bathroom to do it, particularly if you aren’t spending long on each one.

The problem is that hand sanitiser dispensers are often covered in germs themselves. A study showed that bacteria accumulate over the course of the day as people operate dispensers.

Where possible it’s better to use sanitisers you don’t have to touch, available from Touch Free Sanitisers, as they allow you to dispense the hand sanitiser without needing to touch the handle, therefore limiting the spread of bacteria.

Not closing the toilet seat

A recent study has shown that if you flush the toilet without closing the lid first it will spread bacteria all over the room. After flushing a toilet containing bacteria-infected feces, the bacteria was found in the air 25cm above the seat and it was determined that surface contamination with this bacteria occurred within 90 minutes after flushing, meaning that droplets are suspended in the air for some time before settling on a surface.

This issue can be combated by installing newer toilets that don’t have an ‘aerosol’ effect, but it’s definitely worth closing the seat every time you flush!

Spread of Bacteria by Farting

A microbiologist conducted an experiment to see whether farting spreads bacteria. The experiment consisted of him asking his colleague to fart into two Petri dishes, one while wearing pants and the other while naked.

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When they came back to check the dishes, they found that the one which had been subjected to the naked fart had indeed sprouted bacteria, while the other had not.

So if you want to avoid spreading bacteria, make sure that you wear pants when farting around others!

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