In this article, I want to again stress the fact that microorganisms of all types all found in almost every nook and cranny of the biosphere.
On your skin, in your mouth, and in your gut, there are trillions of bacterial cells that make you there home.
Most of the bacteria found in your body are totally harmless and actually aid in matters of digestion and disease control.
Of course, as we all know, there are some nasty bacterial strains and species out there that can make us very sick.
To make matters worse, bacteria, on average, are very hearty organisms.
Some species can go into a sort of stasis that allows them to “shut down” and use only small amounts of energy.
Other types of bacteria have the ability to make spores that contain there genetic material. These spores can withstand the very harshest of conditions, even space.
In addition to bacteria, there are also viruses to worry about.
Viruses are very interesting “creatures” indeed. It is still disputed whether to consider viruses life, because they have no means of procreation on their own.
All viruses require the cellular machinery of their host organism to make copies of the original virus.
These characteristic makes viruses very hearty and hard to kill.
The ubiquitous nature of bacteria and viruses, coupled with their survivability, makes these tiny germs dangerous.
Okay, so what about the money part?
Right, money gets passed around a lot of human beings in a very short
amount of time.
Look at a dollar bill in your billfold. Now try and imagine where that dollar has been in the past few weeks.
If you let your imagination wander, as I have, you may envision someone putting it into their shoe after a long workout or perhaps even having it stuffed it into someone's undergarments.
Ok, that’s enough for me. Yuck!
I think you get the point; money can be breeding areas for bacteria and great vectors for viruses.
These plates contain a media that gives bacteria the ability to thrive and reproduce.
Agar plates allow analysis of the bacterial population including identification, growth, and virulence capabilities.
The study showed that the bills were relatively clean, with only a few dead skins cells found on them and some dirt and grime.
There were very little bacteria found and nothing to be really alarmed about.
A previous study, on the other hand, conducted by the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio exchanged 68 new dollar bills for old, worn ones with people at a grocery store.
In this study, five of the bills contained bacteria that can cause infection in healthy people and 59 of the bills contained bacteria that can cause serious illnesses in those with compromised immune systems.
So, it may seem that it is hard to tell whether money is as dirty as some say.
Fear not, I have some good advice: Just don’t put it in your mouth!
Even though some bacteria have the ability to combat adverse conditions, most bacteria will die if not given a food source and temperatures that are beneficial for growth.
A funny side note: According to the article, other studies have found trace amounts of cocaine on a lot of money, particularly $20 bills.
Is there anything worse than money?
You just had to ask didn’t you?
- Doctor’s neck ties: An article in the British Medical Journal published findings that reportedthat neckties worn by doctors in hospitals are carriers of MRSA and other pathogenic bacteria.
- Office candy bowls: Many people like to search for their favorite treats and inadvertently spread germs throughout the entire candy bowl. Wrapped candy is much safer but the wrappers can also spread disease.
- Library books: Not only are the books great places for bacteria but so are the pen’s used to sign them out. Also, many people like to lick their thumbs before turning to the next page.
- Bathroom door handles: This one of course didn’t surprise me. Believe it or not, many people do not wash their hands after using the facilities. To make things a little safer, try to use a paper towel to touch the handle.
- Telephone receivers: Unwashed hands touching the phone and particles of food and spittle in the mouthpiece make telephone receivers a possible "nest" for bacteria.
- Grandchildren: Parents are in constant contact with their children and therefore build up immunities to the many diseases that children aged 4-12 carry. Grandparents, on the other hand, only see their grandchildren sporadically. I’m not telling you to not see your grandchildren, but do try and wash up before and after your visit.
- The movies, the theatre, or the opera: Viruses spread anywhere large groups are assembled in a confined area.
Trust me, it wasn’t my goal to give you the heebie jeebies, but I do think that knowing is half the battle and when it comes to disease, knowledge is definitely good to have.
Think about it!