5 Dirty Little Secrets
9/21/15 3:38 PM
Microorganisms are crawling around us all the time. They’re in our kitchen sink, on our toothbrush, in our beds, on our keyboards, are teeming on every square inch of our skin, and are most likely throbbing by the millions, if not billions or trillions, on nearly every surface you can think of. The good news is that most of them are harmless, and are mainly just disturbing to think about, but in some instances, they can be harmful.
Here are 5 Dirty Little Secrets about your day to day activities:
1. The five-second rule should be the zero-second rule
For years, people have shouted ‘five-second rule’ when a piece of food falls to the floor, claiming that the food is somehow magically still clean after an arbitrary amount of time. Different factors such as the whether the floor is carpeted or not, what type of food is dropped, whether the food is moist or not, and how well the floor is kept clean all change how much bacteria is transferred between the floor and the food. Nonetheless, 99% of bacteria present is still transferred immediately. Microorganisms are everywhere and on every surface, so when in doubt, simply throw the food away.
2. Dust mites are eating your dead skin cells on every carpeted surface of your home
Chances are, if your home is carpeted, trillions of tiny bugs called dust mites are crawling around aimlessly in search of the dead skin you have flaked off. In a day, you will lose about one million skin cells; they float around the room being swept by gentle air currents until they settle on the ground. From there, they become a tasty snack. Dust mites thrive in warm and damp environments, therefore, ridding your home of these invasive creatures is not difficult. Vacuuming once or twice a week with a HEPA equipped vacuum, using a dehumidifier to dry the air, and washing your bed sheets in hot water will lower their numbers immensely.
3. Smartphones are loaded with bacteria
Smartphones have become our own personal extensions. We take them everywhere we go, and set them down in all sorts of places, and touch them with our hands that have also been all sorts of places. Is it any surprise that phone screens are often dirtier than a public toilet seat? To clean a smartphone, it’s recommended that the device is turned off and wiped with a microfiber cloth. The cloth will remove fingerprints, grease, and dirt from the screen without scratching it.
4. The average person adds 37 million bacteria to a room
Having your friends over for dinner? Well, if so, they’re bringing extra company with them in the form of millions of microbes. An investigation by Yale University found that human occupancy was heavily correlated with increased airborne bacterial concentrations. Most of the illnesses that humans get, they get from being indoors. Thankfully however, only about .1% of the microorganisms found indoors are infectious, and most of them actually assist us in warding off diseases.
5. Our pets share their bacteria with us
In addition to the vast number of bacteria that humans carry, our pets carry their own slew of microorganisms that are deposited wherever they happen to be. Coming into close contact with our pets also means coming into contact with whatever our companions have picked up in their daily travels. Most of the microbes that we exchange with our pets and other humans are harmless, and even help to boost our immune systems.
These 5 facts highlight the constant presence of single-celled creatures. Though often unnoticed by most of us, being covered in microbes is natural, and normal hygiene habits will keep them within a healthy range. What surfaces in your home do you pay the most attention to when it comes to sanitation? Why?