19 Stories

How Your Dog's Germs Might Be Keeping You Healthy

Researchers want to lend you a pooch to find out

(Newser) - How is a dog like a cup of yogurt? Well, canines might also have a "probiotic effect" on humans, researcher Kim Kelly explains in a post from the University of Arizona . Science suggests owning a dog can be healthy—for instance, kids in families with dogs generally have lower... More »

Meet the Germs in Your Local Public Restroom

Even shortly after it's cleaned

(Newser) - Warning: Some readers may find the following information disturbing ... or at least pretty gross. Researchers studying public restrooms found that just an hour after bathrooms were sterilized with bleach solution, they were once again packed with various microbes, NPR reports. In a study over the course of a few months,... More »

Air Around Hand Dryers Is Pretty Germy

27 times more bacteria found in air around jet-air dryers than around paper towels

(Newser) - Given the choice between noisy hand dryers and tree-felling paper towels, dryers are the better option, right? Maybe not, at least when it comes to your health. A University of Leeds study finds hand dryers, especially "jet-air" models, can actually spread germs around a public bathroom. To simulate what... More »

Germ-Ridden Doorknob Can Infect Building in Hours

Virus quickly spread to more than half of one building's occupants

(Newser) - "The hand is quicker than the sneeze in the spread of disease," warns the lead author of a study that found a single germ-laden doorknob can spread a virus throughout a building in the space of hours. University of Arizona researcher Charles Gerba's team placed a harmless... More »

Moving? Your Germ Universe Will Follow

A new study finds it takes about a day for our bacteria to colonize a new place

(Newser) - It doesn't matter how much we scrub—our bodies are home to trillions of bacteria. And a new study finds that they travel with us: Even when we move to a new location, they colonize those surfaces within about a day, reports WebMD . But the vast majority that comprise... More »

Why Fist Bumps Trump Handshakes

Handshakes spread 20 times more germs, study says

(Newser) - A good, firm handshake is a great way to spread germs, according to researchers who say infections could be reduced if people adopted fist bumps instead. The researchers dipped gloved hands in bacteria and then shook hands with, high-fived, or fist-bumped sterile-gloved counterparts, the Los Angeles Times reports. They found... More »

It's Time to Quit Hand Sanitizer

Bill Saporito aims to end his addiction

(Newser) - Whether you're in an office building or on the subway, chances are a bottle of hand sanitizer is close by—and that used to suit Bill Saporito just fine. He underwent chemotherapy several years ago and had to avoid getting sick, and the resulting "germanoia" led to hand-sanitizer... More »

Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Kill 23K a Year—at Least

CDC report sets baseline for first time

(Newser) - With antibiotic resistance building, experts fear a day when everyday bacterial infections could once again be life-threatening—and a new federal study shows "we're getting closer and closer to the cliff," says a CDC rep. Already, two million people each year suffer from antibiotic-resistant infections, and 23,... More »

Study Uncovers Gross Hand-Washing Stat

19 out of 20 of us are doing it wrong

(Newser) - Warning: After reading this, you may never want to shake hands again. Following a trip to the toilet, some 95% of people don't wash their hands properly—meaning long enough actually eliminate bacteria, a study finds. Some commit worse hygiene sins: a third don't use soap, and a... More »

Want Health? Feed the Bacteria Living Inside You

Antibiotics, processed foods aren't helping

(Newser) - Don't look now, but roughly 100 trillion bacteria live in and on your body. According to scientists, these microbes—especially the ones in your gut—may be fending off chronic diseases, moderating your weight, and strengthening your immune system. But our society's processed foods and war on bacteria... More »

Your Smartphone Is Really Disgusting

And its bacteria could give you a cold, pinkeye, or diarrhea

(Newser) - Bad news for tech-loving germaphobes: Your smartphone, with its cozy warm screen and constant access to your face, is a paradise for bacteria that can make you sick, reports the Wall Street Journal . It doesn't help that we take them with us everywhere, and that most phone cleaners are... More »

Five-Second Rule Pretty Much Bogus

Study indicates that germs are faster than that

(Newser) - If you were laboring under the delusion that the "five-second rule" had any basis in scientific fact, well, keep dreaming. Germs latch onto food a lot faster than that, according to a new San Diego State University study co-funded by the cleanly folks at Clorox. Researchers dropped baby carrots... More »

The Nastiest Thing in Your Hotel Room Is...

The light switch. Sorry, were you planning to read in bed?

(Newser) - Bad news for germophobes: Light and lamp switches are among the dirtiest things found in hotel rooms, according to a new study. TV remote controls also rank near the top of the most-contaminated list, LiveScience reports. Of course, your remote at home may not be any cleaner, but in a... More »

Many Med Students Ignorant on Hand-Washing

2 of 3 rising doctors don't know when to clean hands: Study

(Newser) - Doctors are expected to be seasoned experts in all things health, but a new study suggests that medical students aren't always sure when they're supposed to wash their hands, reports Time's Healthland blog . Researchers quizzed 85 German medical students on different scenarios and found that only one... More »

Gas Pumps Top List of Germiest Objects

...followed by mailbox handles and escalator rails

(Newser) - You may use hand sanitizers in rest rooms, but how about gas stations, mail boxes, and ATM machines? A new survey of America's yuckiest touchables found that 71% of gas pump dispensers and 68% of mailbox handles were highly contaminated with high-risk germs. Next on the list were escalator... More »

You Don't Want to Know What's on Your Cellphone

There's a good chance it's fecal matter: study

(Newser) - If you’re reading this on your smartphone, you might want to go wash your hands now: A new study out of London finds that one out of six cellphones has fecal matter on it. UK researchers swabbed 390 mobile phones and the British hands that used them, and found... More »

Scientists Slay Superbugs... With Light

Wavelengths cause chemical reaction, researchers find

(Newser) - Scientists have shed light on a new way to kill hospital superbugs like MRSA: literally shed light on them. A set of wavelengths called HINS-light acts by stimulating molecules in the bacteria, causing them to create chemicals that kill the germs. In trials, the process appears far more effective than... More »

Your Smartphone Is Full of Germs

More germs than a toilet handle, in fact

(Newser) - Your smartphone is dirtier than the toilet flush handle in a men’s restroom—18 times dirtier, to be exact. A new study shows that “personal touch-screen devices” are one of the best places to pick up germs, joining other fomites (frequently handled objects) that often spread illness, like... More »

Five-Second Rule? Better Think Twice

Kitchen floors are germ-infested zones

(Newser) - The 5-second rule may or may not protect your stomach from nasty germs (here's a no , here's a yes ), but it probably depends more on location than duration, writes Julie Deardorff, who rounds up recent studies and talks to scientists for her Health Club column in the Chicago Tribune... More »

19 Stories