Perhaps you were as grossed out as we were by that recent Weill Cornell Medical College study that showed New York City’s subway system to be teeming with bacteria. Over an 18-month period, geneticist Christopher Mason and his team collected DNA from handrails, kiosks, seats, and turnstiles across the MTA to reveal a lush, invisible ecosystem containing more than 15,000 different kinds of microbial life. Ick, right?
Thankfully, the study also showed that the vast majority of bacteria found in the subway were harmless or even beneficial to humans. These “good” bacteria might come from food, remove toxins from the environment, or outcompete disease-causing pathogens lurking on surfaces. “That means more [bacterial] diversity, by the odds, would be a good thing,” Mason says.
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Gloves, tissue, etc – whatever you use to create a barrier between you and what you intend to handle… It’s moot if you end up handling the surface that came into contact with a contaminated object.
Depending on what you are wearing a mask for, it’s not worth the time. Most aren’t rated for germs/bacteria you’d be exposed to, and the ones that are – they require a solid fit to ensure quality. That means no facial hair, guys. As for what you’re exposed to – the percentage of particles is so vast and minute, some claim we’re breathing particles from Napoleon’s last breath. In the outdoors, wind patterns can take things further than we’d believed. Chernobyl demonstrated this when crops and animals throughout the world had higher levels of radiation…
The toilet? The gross part is that the handle isn’t the issue, as the flush will distribute germs, bacteria, and fecal matter everywhere. Closing the lid helps somewhat… But we weren’t meant to use the toilet anyhow.
Germs aren’t a real health hazard; there are germs everywhere in your life, and the ones in bathrooms aren’t significantly more numerous or more dangerous than the rest. The best ways to steer clear of cold and flu germs (the most likely threats anywhere) are to:
- wash your hands
- avoid touching your face
- support your immune system by not smoking and by exercising, eating, and sleeping well