OCT 05, 2016 2:59 PM PDT

Real-Life Experiment Shows People Have Disgusting Hands

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The average person touches about 300 different surfaces every half hour. Among these things are two of the proclaimed germ-ridden items: our phones and the computer keyboards. After touching the various items, we then touch our face, rub our eyes, pick up food, and so on.

But while we know our hands are dirty, just how dirty are they? The question is tough to answer with naked eyes, as bacteria are microscopic. So, hands don't have to be covered in mud for them to be ridden with bacteria.

To answer this question, one doctor and his team collected hand swabs from 50 random people. The swabs were then cultured back in the lab on agar plates to visually see the bacterial colonies that grew. The team found that about a third of the people had "heavily contaminated" hands, while 10 percent had "grossly contaminated" hands. Even more shocking, a big portion of people had bacteria normally found in fecal matter! Think about this next time you decide to skip washing your hands!
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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