And we all know that one of the simplest ways to prevent the spread of germs is frequent hand washing done the right way—with soap and clean, running water for at least 20 seconds.. Myth or Fact? In a study we did some years ago, we found salmonella in 10 percent of them. ( Log Out /  True. Any personal information you provide on the third-party’s website will be managed in accordance with their privacy policy. Dogs carry more bacteria in their mouths than humans, but their germs aren’t the type that would infect us or make us sick. Myth or Fact? And the type of dip also matters. Your dishwasher’s internal heating element raises the temperature of the water, which becomes hot enough to sterilize the bottles, rims, and nipples. Ultimately, the problem may be that there hasn't been a peer-reviewed study of toothbrush hygiene. False. Fact: Microwaving a sponge will kill all of its bacteria, but so will cleaning it in the dishwasher. A high school student tested the theory, first contaminating a floor with E. coli, then dropping cookies and gummy bears onto the surface. Learn how Safeguard is making a difference in the world. Myth, says Dr. Charles Gerba, author of The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu. "Don't take risk without a demonstrated benefit," he said. False. So it's not entirely clear that your toothbrush is showering in your toilet water just because it's nearby. In any case, she noted, separate cutting boards should be used for raw chicken or beef and vegetables. ABCNews OnCall+ spoke with experts about some of the popular myths about germs that tend to spread as fast as the bacteria themselves this time … Sattar also noted that the World Health Organization will be examining this issue to ensure that passengers aren't sharing illnesses with their fellow travelers. In a recent report for the TV show 20/20, Gerba found that the floor and sanitary napkin machine were the most germ-filled places in ABC News’s own bathrooms. ABCNews OnCall+ spoke with experts about some of the popular myths about germs that tend to spread as fast as the bacteria themselves this time of year. How unsafe are public toilet seats? For Sattar, the long-term risks of triclosan in the environment also need to be looked at. Plastic cutting boards are more sanitary than wooden ones. Toilet seats are the dirtiest places in public bathrooms. Adrian Black is now a member of Got Heart? Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Their study, just published in the journal Indoor Air, found that each of us adds 37 million bacteria to the air for every hour we stay in a room, many of which will linger long after we leave, mingling with dust and germs from new and former occupants. So before taking advice from your friends, you might want to check their wisdom about our microbe neighbors. The blowing air from a hand drier in a public restroom spreads germs. said Scott. False. The sink, door handle and toilet seat—spots that most people expect to be contaminated—were the cleanest, with the least number of bacteria per square inch. The makeup at a cosmetics counter is unsafe to use -- it harbors a multitude of germs. The 5-second rule applies; if you pick up dropped food quickly it’s safe to eat. 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. But before you invest in a hazmat suit to wear to your next party, here are more myths and surprising facts about germs: Myth or Fact? Gerba's research showed a spray coming out of toilets when they are flushed. Hendley said he maintains separate counter and dish sponges and makes sure to have detergent in the sponge whenever he uses it. 5 Remedies Put to the Test. She noted that washing with soap and water doesn't remove all the microbes from our hands, because some are an important part of our skin, and even if we did kill them, they would return. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. True. "That is certainly a myth, because we have done our own studies in that regard," he said. A few years ago, the Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters" tackled the issue. Fact: A four-year study by University of Arizona’s Environmental Research Lab found that grocery carts ranked as #3 in the most germ-ridden public surfaces, after playground equipment and armrests in public transportation. "It probably was true in the sense that inside of an aircraft cabin, if filled to capacity, you would have a lot of people breathing germs in and out," said Sattar. The best way to disinfect a kitchen sponge is to zap it in the microwave. There doesn't appear to much hard data on what the cosmetics at the counter contain, but their usage could lead to the spread of infection. Mostly fact: Chlorine and other pool-cleaning chemicals kill bacteria that cause illnesses—but not all germs are eliminated immediately. Dr. J. Owen Hendley, professor of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital, said that this myth has been a persistent one. Fact or Myth? If you keep your toothbrush within 6 feet of your toilet, you're brushing your teeth with toilet water. Of getting an infection, he said, "I guess you could, but I've never known of a documented case where that actually happened.". Ultimately, Sattar said, antibacterial soap doesn't do enough to justify its use. Pool-cleaning chemicals such as chlorine kill the germs that can make you sick. Scott also noted that germs can be picked up by stroking the animals, and you should wash your hands anytime you touch them. "They "I think that one's associated with the fact that we all find public toilets very disgusting," she said, adding that you were more likely to get sick from touching the toilet seat or the flush handle with your hand. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Myth or Fact? If it’s a pacifier, cutlery, or another object that will go in your mouth, wash it before you use it. Americans are believed to spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, so it’s no surprise that most infectious diseases are spread in a closed space, rather than outdoors. Get Your Questions Answered at the ABCNews.com OnCall+ Cold & Flu Center. So in order to keep sponges from being bacteria farms for your kitchen, several steps should be taken. Soaking sponges in lemon juice, deionized water or a 10 percent bleach solution only killed between 37 and 87 percent of the bacteria, while cleaning them in the microwave or dishwasher both killed more than 99 percent of germs.