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germs

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This is why you need to wash your avocados

Avocado lovers, your favorite food has a bit of a dirty secret. A new report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that washing avocados before eating them is crucial. A good portion of the avocado skins sampled recently tested positive for bacteria like listeria or salmonella during. Yikes! Of course you don’t eat the skin, but you’re still at risk if you don’t wash your fruit first. That’s because the knife you are using to cut through the avocado’s exterior (and you certainly have to use a knife to break through) can carry these potentially fatal bacteria into the flesh of the fruit — which you do eat. Of the 1,615 avocados sampled in the study, 17 percent carried the harmful bacteria, so this isn’t a one-in-a-million chance — this is very common. The study included avocados grown both domestically and internationally. The good news is that only .24…

Warning: You may not want to use the pepper shaker at restaurants

The next time you’re out to eat, you may want to consider whether you really need to add salt and pepper to your meal. It turns out, pepper shakers are one of the dirtiest items in a restaurant. According to a study from ABC News, pepper shakers harbor one of the highest bacteria counts at a public dining facility with counts reaching 11,600 — second only to restaurant menus. (And for your complete disgust, restaurant menus were found to carry the most — an average bacteria count of 185,000 — and have 100 times more bacteria than your typical toilet seat.) The study examined swab samples taken from common table items at 12 restaurants throughout New York, Ohio, and Arizona. The swabs were then examined for “total bacteria counts and coliform — a broad class of bacteria found in our environment. The presence of coliform can indicated fecal matter.” Dr.…

Blowing out birthday candles boosts bacteria to disgusting levels

Birthday cake lovers, beware. If you’ve ever taken part of the classic birthday ritual — you know: dimmed lights, loud singing of “Happy Birthday” followed by candle blowing — you’ve participated in a very disgusting tradition. Researchers at Clemson University recently conducted a study to find out whether significant bacteria is transferred to the cake when someone blows out their candles. Mimicking a traditional child’s birthday party, participants ate several slices of pizza before volunteering to blow out candles on top of an ordinary birthday cake. A control group cake had no party-goers blow on it. Then the two were compared. Researchers found that the cake where the candles had been blown out had more than 1,400% more bacteria than the cake that was left alone. Interestingly, people blew greatly varied number of bacteria — some didn’t transfer any, and some, for whatever reason, transferred a lot. (Maybe a germaphobic researcher out…

Choosing this seat on the airplane will help you avoid getting sick, study says

If you dread stepping onboard an airplane for fear of getting sick, then you might want to double check your seat assignment. When it comes to immunity, nothing is a guarantee, but apparently you can increase your odds of avoiding sickness if you select a window seat and remain there for the whole flight. According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, travelers moving about the cabin is more of a cause for concern than the recirculated air that gets such a bad rap. Since your seat assignment largely determines the likelihood you’ll get up from your seat, it also determines your chance of coming in contact with germs that will make you ill. People sitting in the aisle seats are 80% likely to walk about the cabin, while only 62% of middle seats and 43% of window seat customers do the same. So if you…

These two workout classes are dirtier than your toilet

Gym classes are a great way to keep up motivation to workout. However the camaraderie you build when spinning or spotting isn’t the only thing you’re sharing. It seems that certain gym classes leave you more open to swapping bacteria. While all gym equipment — and all public places, for that matter — carry some expectation of germs, a recent study conducted by EllipticalReviews.com found that there are two gym classes in particular that are more unhygienic than a toilet. The researchers took three swab samples from equipment in four different workout classes (spin, hot yoga, barre, and weight-based workouts). The swabs were measured for the volume of microbes found and then the three samples were averaged to determine the level of colony-forming units (CFU). Weight-based workouts were the worst, with an average of 153,410 CFU detected on an average barbell. For comparison, a toilet seat comes in with about 3,200 CFU — that…