7 Surprising Things You Should Never, Ever Share


May 25th, 2010

There are certain things you as a nursing school student already know we shouldn’t share with each other if we want to stay healthy and prevent germs: needles, food, razors and beverages. But there are a lot of other seemingly harmless everyday items that aren’t just unhygienic if you share them: they’re downright dangerous. Here are 7 surprising things you should never share.

  1. Bath towels: Even though we generally only use bath towels after a shower when we’re squeaky clean, they can still spread diseases. They can carry staph infections as well as jock itch fungus and other types of fungi. Change and wash towels frequently, and never share them, not even with family.
  2. Keyboards: Computer keyboards and computer mice may harbor more germs than your toilet. In one study, a scientist found that a computer keyboard contained 3,295 bacteria per square inch. The more you share your keyboard and mouse, the more germs you’ll be likely to get. Germs can be picked up from people who don’t wash their hands often, food particles (and the bacteria they attract), animal hairs, fingernail clippings, grease and other icky germs that can make you sick.
  3. Earrings: If you like your best friend’s earrings, ask her where she got them, not if you can borrow them. According to Dr. Oz, sharing earrings can transfer viruses, including Hepatitis C. To keep your earrings clean, wipe them with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol every so often. Let them air dry and store them in a clean container away from dust.
  4. Nail clippers: Families and girl friends may share nail clippers, files and other manicure items, but this habit can be very dangerous. These items can very easily get teensy blood specks or other infected organisms on them that will be transmitted to the next user if they’re shared. If you have any type of disease or fungus, then it will enter your friend’s body, too.
  5. Hair brush: You might think that lice is the only risk of sharing a hair brush, but it’s not. In addition to lice, ring worm fungus can be transmitted by hair brushes. Ringworm can affect the scalp, and if you share hair accessories or grooming products with someone who has it, you can get it, too. You’ll develop a rash, temporary baldness, a yellow-ish, crusty scalp and dry, brittle hair.
  6. Cell phone: Whether or not cell phones can cause brain damage or tumors is still up for debate, but one thing that is certain is that cell phones are full of germs. A 2006 study found that the heat from your cell phone’s charge makes your mobile device a breeding ground for germs, perhaps including tens of millions of bacteria, and possibly even staph infection. In fact, the scientist found that out of 25 cell phones tested, nearly half had staph.
  7. Makeup: When you get ready to go out with your girl friends, you may be used to swapping eyeshadow and trying out different lipsticks or glosses. But sharing makeup means sharing germs and diseases. From pink eye to saliva, makeup carries a lot of unseen germs and particles that can make you and your friends sick. Another place to watch out for germs is the makeup sample counter at stores: these testers contain staph, strep, and E. coli bacteria due to all the “double-dipping.”

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